Encouragement is the fuel of excellence

Last December, I had the privilege of accepting an award at my company’s Christmas party, and it came with a nice little bonus.  It was totally unexpected and very exciting to leave that party with one of the five awards given out among our 200+ employee company.  I also had some golf money for the spring, but I really didn’t care about the bonus as much as I appreciated being recognized in front of my peers for a job well done.

Unfortunately, many business leaders and managers don’t understand the value of public recognition for their team members, and for good reason.  Most top business leaders and managers are intrinsically motivated: their drive to succeed comes from within, and they excel without much encouragement along the way.  In fact, many of these people feed off of negative feedback and criticism, out to prove the naysayers wrong.

However, not every person is built this way.  In fact, few are, and most team members tend to be extrinsically motivated, needing a little nudge here and there to perform at their best.  Therein lies the rub.

This is why great team leaders and managers are often very difficult to find and, consequently, great teams are even more scarce.  The high performers are often put in charge of teams because of their success, but their success does not always translate into leading others to the same success.

If you are a leader or manager in your organization, or if you just want to be a great leader regardless of your position or title, start rewarding excellent work, whether publically or privately.  This is the fuel of excellence.

As John Maxwell often says, “What is rewarded will be repeated.”

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