Why Recognition is More Important Than Ever

Human figurine has equal weight against a group of people. Authoritative and important

Think back to a time when you received authentic appreciation or recognition from a boss or colleague. Chances are you felt pride, joy, and fulfillment about yourself and the place you chose to work.

Beyond positive feelings, recognition does something powerful in your brain. Without any additional effort, you will remember and attempt to replicate what caused the praise to happen in the first place. In other words, recognition for your prior effort influences your future behavior.

Recognition for prior effort influences future behavior. 

However, most managers and leaders don’t recognize both the short-term benefit or long-term impact recognition has on their team members. Because of this, they aren’t doing enough of it. A study by Glassdoor found that 80% of employees would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss, and 70% said they’d feel better about themselves and their efforts if their boss thanked them more regularly. If that weren’t important enough, 63% of employees who feel recognized are unlikely to look for another job.

Recognition is the Secret Ingredient to Inspire

Author Fred Reichheld, in his book Winning on Purpose said, “Giving praise and recognition is the secret ingredient great leaders use to inspire their team because it provides the essential fuel to win on purpose.”

Authentic recognition improves productivity, performance, and engagement while at the same time reducing voluntary turnover. In other words, 

Recognition Fuels Short Term Engagement and Fuels Long Term Performance

Since giving praise and recognition isn’t a strong suit for most leaders, there is something you can use called the 3 x 3 Praise Model from my book Building the Best to help. The first three parts of the model share what to do when giving praise. You can see the model below or download a copy here for free.

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1. Be definitive. 

Clarify what the team member did to deserve the recognition. Instead of just focusing on the result of their work, focus on the behavior that produced it. 

Great recognition focuses on the behavior that produced the outcome, not the result itself.

2. Discuss the impact of their behavior. 

Highlight the impact their behavior had on the team, organization, or themselves. This is critical and often forgotten or assumed. People need to know the work they do helps fulfill the mission and purpose of the team.  

People need to know the work they do helps fulfill the mission and purpose of the team. 

Spell out what good things happened or could happen because of their extra effort. 

3. Show Genuine appreciation. 

Tell them how much it meant to you and how much you appreciate what they did for the team. People can see right through a pile of inauthentic words. Take time, write or say real meaningful words.  


I am more convinced than ever that no leader can have a fully engaged team without providing praise and recognition. If that wasn’t enough, in this crazy talent war, where voluntary turnover is at an all-time high, leaders must make a concerted effort to provide five times the amount of recognition than feedback.

Since your leadership is temporary, stop waiting to give recognition, do it today.

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

One Word Micromanagers Use That You Must Avoid

Conflict management

With leadership comes responsibility. A significant portion of that responsibility includes being accountable for team members’ behaviors. While this might sound like no big deal, trying to influence or control what other people do is hard.  

The strategies and tactics managers leverage but are not limited to include; setting clear standards, aligning teams to core values, defining hiring processes, providing coaching, and having difficult dialogues. While all of these are effective and things I teach leaders to use, there is a less effective method many managers adhere to called micromanaging. 

Now before you act as you have never micromanaged, stop right there. You have been guilty of it, and I have as well. To closely observe, control, or remind others what they should be doing or how they should be doing is an easy thing to do when you are ultimately responsible for their choices. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it correct.

What is Micromanagement and Why Do We Do It?

The term micromanagement has skyrocketed in popularity in the last few decades. Webster defines it as “manage[ment] especially with excessive control or attention on details.” It has a negative connotation both in the marketplace and to employees because it limits the freedom to complete jobs or tasks instead of trusting things will be done correctly. 

Managers tend to micromanage for one of three reasons:

  • Comfort – Many managers were successful in the role the people they now lead are currently work in, so it’s comfortable for them to get in the weeds. 
  • Connectedness – There is a sense of being a unit when a manager helps do the work with their team. 
  • Importance – No manager wants to feel they aren’t necessary anymore. So they micromanage to feel important. 

Many full-fledged micromanagers have been exposed and removed from their position in the last few years because of high turnover rates, engagement surveys, and 360° Leadership assessments. However, the best leaders know there is a fine line between setting high standards and coaching someone and reminding others what they should be doing and how they should be doing it.  

Small Changes Make a Big Difference

Since most managers don’t have an overt problem with micromanagement, they often do small things that lead to their people feeling micromanaged. These small things tend to be the words they use and when they use them.  

Leaders can make small changes in communication to lead to big changes in performance. 

One word managers use to modify the behavior of an employee is the word “Don’t.” Not only is it a micromanaging word, but it’s demotivating to people. Here is how managers typically use it:

  • Don’t do it that way.”
  • Don’t miss the deadline.”
  • Don’t say it like that; say it like this.”

Writing these statements that start with “don’t” exudes a manager trying to control, not inspire. Since inspiration is a key to elevating others, breathing life into team members will help change behavior with an internal trigger instead of an external motivator.  

The best leaders don’t control, they inspire.

The word “don’t” has a negative connotation, and it stirs up feelings of defensiveness in people. Instead of responding positively, more often than not, it will have someone responding a begrudgingly way.  

Just check out these same statements communicated without the word “don’t.”

  • “Do you need any help making the deadline?”
  • “Try saying it this way to see if you get a better response.”
  • “I love your effort; if you modify your technique there is a chance it’s easier for you.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the enormous difference between a leader communicating like this versus one using the word “don’t.”


Eliminating or modifying a word from “don’t” from your managerial language won’t be easy. The challenge to you this week is to take a mental checklist around how often you say the word “don’t” to your colleagues, teammates, significant other, or even your kids.

Once you recognize the extent of your “don’t” habit, then it’s time to change your language moving forward to something more positive, inspirational, and encouraging.  

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About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

The Top 3 Leadership Skills You Must Master Right Now

Have you ever wondered what separates average managers from good leaders? It’s not raw, natural talent. No, its something much more straightforward, and the answer lies in two simple words you and everyone else has control over, work and effort.

There is a fundamental truth around leadership from all of my research and interviews that’s important both you and I not only understand but believe in our core. 

You become the leader you construct

Only you have control over your development as a leader, and you have to take ownership of it.

To ensure we are on the same page, we must level set on what I mean by leadership. I define it in Building the Best as: “Inspiring, empowering, and serving in order to elevate others over an extended period of time.”

Leading like this requires the combination of a series of skills working together. The list isn’t short but here are a few of them:

  • Personability
  • Positivity
  • Empathy
  • Trust (relationship-building)
  • Recognition
  • Coaching
  • Listening
  • Vulnerability
  • Accountability
  • Vision
  • Mindset
  • Decisiveness

Many individual skills in leadership are essential for you to develop. But much like the game of golf, some skills are more important than the others. If you are going to go from an average manager to a good leader, these are the ones you need to work on mastering first. 

1.Develop Trust

The ability to lead a team starts with good, quality, professional relationships, built on the bond of mutual trust. All effective leaders consistently share their competence and the care they have for their people in order for trust to grow.  

The simplest and most effective way to understand precisely how trust is built comes from Reid Hoffman: Trust = Consistency + Time

When you break down the simple formula, it makes so much sense. Regardless of how long you have been leading other people, we can all relate to building trust with someone in our lives. Trust is the foundation every relationship is built upon, and it’s created by consistency over time. This means you have to do what you say you are going to do, day in and day out. 

Pro Tip- All leaders are challenged to overcome different biases to have better trust-filled relationships across their team. However, our instinct as human beings is to gravitate toward and trust people who look, act, and behave like us. If you want better trust-filled relationships, look beyond commonalities.  

2. Reward, Recognize and Appreciate

One of the most critical skills for leaders to develop today is giving praise. Praise encompasses rewarding, recognizing, and showing authentic appreciation for people both in what they produce and who they are.  

It’s important to note that appreciation is different from recognition. Recognition is about the results someone produces.

Tom Peters famously said, “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” Peters is correct, but recognition is based on a person’s performance. (which is essential and you should reward how they do it) Appreciation is much bigger; it’s about who someone is versus what they produce. It means, “recognizing the value of.” 

There was a study done at the University of Berkley about what motivates productivity. What they found was astonishing. When people felt recognized for the work they did, they were 23% more effective and productive versus when they didn’t. But when people felt valued and cared for, they were 43% more productive and effective versus than people who didn’t. That’s a 20% improvement when people know they’re appreciated.  

It’s your job as a leader to master the skills related to praise. Not only when to give it, but how to do it, so it means something to person on the receiving end.

3. Accountability Through Conversations

Many words make most people uncomfortable, and accountability is one of those words. Before understanding exactly what accountability was and why it was so crucial for leaders to understand, I felt the same way. Accountability is the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. The keyword here is an obligation.  

”Great leaders understand it’s their obligation to have uncomfortable conversations.”  

Much like praise, part of your job as a leader is to master the art of having direct dialogues with people that help them improve and motivate them towards movement. A great question to ask yourself, “Do I have a go-to conversation model I know like the back of my hand?”

Next week, I am going to cover the following three most important skills; coaching, listening, and curiosity.

Tell me what you think in the comments

What are the best ways you construct the skills of Relationship Building, Praise, and Accountability in yourself? The best answer receives a free copy of Building the Best.

Elevate the Way You Lead: Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success is published by McGraw-Hill. It was named the #1 Best New Management Books to Read by Book Authority. Learn the stories, principles, and tools to help elevate the way you lead others.

About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. He is currently booking events and speaking engagements for 2020. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

Leadership Skills FAQ

What are the top three leadership skills?

1. Develop trust
2. Praise and recognition
3. Accountability through conversations

How do you demonstrate leadership skills?

5 Ways to Demonstrate Leadership Skills at Work
1. Your actions will always outweigh your words
2. Schedule regualar one-on-one sessions with your team members
3. Listen to others
4. Be positive and optimistic
4. Hold yourself and others accountable

What defines a leader?

A leader is someone whose actions inspire, empower, and serve in order to elevate others over an extended period of time.

How can I be a leader?

Focus all of your efforts on elevating others. You have to constantly be looking for ways to help others be successful.

4 Steps to Reduce Stress and Refocus at Work in 10 Minutes

One day, years ago when I was working in the health and wellness industry, one of my intelligent and high performing colleagues appeared quite deflated.  This caught my attention because she was always on her ‘A’ game, never asked for help, and was considered one of our most reliable team members.

When I asked her if she was okay, she responded with a sigh, “Yeah, but I just have so much on my plate, and I don’t know how I’m going to get it done.”

I had experienced that feeling earlier in my career, and I replied, “I don’t know exactly how you feel in this moment, but I’ve started a routine that has helped me tremendously when I’ve been in a similar situation”. She was excited to hear my routine, and once I shared it with her she put it into action. Not only did it make an immediate impact but it exponentially increased over time.

Want to know what I shared? Below are the 4 steps to reduce stress and refocus at work that you can apply in less than 10 minutes that my colleague claimed: “changed her life.”

Step 1. Disconnect from all electronics and take a few deep breaths

There is truth behind out of sight, out of mind. Stimulation and stress can shorten your respiratory cycle. Once your devices are out of reach, breathe deeply, as sufficient oxygen flow is what you require most to live!

Step 2Drink a glass of water

Stress can dehydrate you by weakening your adrenal glands, and your brain needs water perhaps more than the rest of your body.  Your brain is 70%+ water.

Step 3. Go for a 5-minute walk (no phone or devices)

Go for a walk and put all of your focus on clearing your head and reflecting on the things you’re looking forward to doing or achieving.

Step 4Find a vacant meeting room or quiet space to sit with only a pen and notepad

Think deeply about your priority projects and tasks that are weighing on you, and jot them down in no particular order.  You need to create space in your mind so you can start to think more clearly. Then, simply number them in order of what you need to begin working on first.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe famously said, “One always has time enough, if one will apply it well”. I’ve found this to be so true. There is no point in letting doubt or negativity build.  Prioritize, and tackle one thing at a time.

After completing these 4 steps, there will be times when you will still feel overwhelmed. Here’s a tip for when you’re still feeling overwhelmed after these 4 steps: Ask for help from a manager or peer. Explain your situation, share the way you are feeling.  It shows how much you care and how much pride you have in your work. It’s important to be confident in your abilities, but showing a sense of vulnerability is also a characteristic of great leaders.

My former colleague tells me that these steps have become a habit when she feels overwhelmed, and they help her refocus and get back on her ‘A’ game.  But be patient, numerous studies have shown that it takes 3 full weeks for a habit to form.

Also, be cognizant that many individuals don’t handle stress well, so don’t hesitate to ask them if they’re okay and share this routine with them. It can change their life.

About the Author Gordon Shuford is the Director of Leadership Development at LearnLoft, a full-service organizational health company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. Gordon has a background in corporate wellness and coaching.

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LearnLoft is excited to announce our partnership with McGraw-Hill to publish Elevate Others: The New Model To Successfully Lead Today to be released this summer!

10 Critical Tips to Become a Great Leader

For as long as I can remember, I dreamed of being a leader. I loved achieving as a team and the feeling of camaraderie over individual successes. There is something significant about going through a process or journey with others and being victorious. But I quickly found out that just because you dream about or love something doesn’t mean you are going to be great at it.

My first opportunity leading others professionally proved to be a disaster. I ended up being living proof that Jocko Willink’s quote about leadership is true. “There are no bad teams just bad leaders.” I failed my team, but I knew it didn’t have to end that way.

After years of studying, practicing, applying, and writing about what the best leaders do, I am confident in a set of common tips that all leaders of teams should know. If followed, applied, and mastered, these 10 important tips will increase the probability of improving the performance of your team as a whole. These do not have to be completed in order and you will probably find that you are already practicing a number of them.

1. Be Consistent

I define consistency as “the steadfast adherence to principles, truth or standards of behavior”. It can often be confused for intensity, but truth be told, consistency beats intensity every time. What keeps your teeth clean is not brushing them with vigor, but brushing them twice on a daily basis. The same is true in leadership. Consistency is a vital part of being a leader. A steadfast adherence to principles and standards of behavior will make you the most successful leader you can be. When you lack these, you create a sense of uncertainty and doubt for your team that is almost impossible to overcome.

2. Communicate All the Time

The vast majority of conflict in a work environment or any relationship can be blamed on poor communication. Many leaders do not place enough emphasis on and put enough effort into clear communication. When a leader or team does not properly communicate, assumptions are made. This results in people being unsure about where they stand or how they are supposed to behave. Making it a priority every day to be a great communicator and choosing to over- vs under-communicate will help avoid these issues.

3. Focus on Relationships

Relationships are the center of everything. As such, the relationships you build as a leader must be based on trust and mutual respect. Where most leaders struggle is in understanding their responsibility to earn those two things. Long gone are the days of a title earning the respect of those you lead. In today’s workplaces, a title should only be a reminder of your responsibility to earn trust and respect from your people.

4. Be Purpose-Driven

The desire to be part of something bigger than oneself is deep within everyone. Being purpose-driven is the best way to satisfy this need. Knowing what it is you want to do, beyond making money, is such a vital part of being successful. Ask yourself, who do we serve? Why is it important? What greater impact can/do we have on the world?

5. Define Core Values

Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or an organization. These guiding principles dictate behavior and help people decipher right from wrong. A common denominator between all great leaders is the time they have dedicated to defining their own set of core values. You always know a core value not by the words on a wall or website but by seeing what a leader rewards, recognized and talks about. They are so important because talented people aren’t attracted to empty core values, but rather the exercising of them.

6. Share Your Vision

An integral part of leadership is becoming better than you are today and having a vision for what is possible in the future. Note, I use the word vision and not sight. Sight restricts a team to what they can currently see, vision captures the future of what could be. Elon Musk did this beautifully for his team at SpaceX. “We are going to land people on Mars by 2025,” he said. Imagine going to work there every day and working towards putting people on a different planet! Musk’s people have a clear cut goal and end date to strive for. As a leader, if you do not communicate an improved future state, the chances of you and your team achieving it are not very good.

7. Create a Safe and Connected Environment

Whether your team works in the same office space every day or is remote, creating a safe and connected environment matters all the same. In doing so, you are allowing your people to become the best version of themselves because people want to feel safe and a part of something bigger than themselves which makes them feel welcome.

8. Align Behaviors

To achieve the results you desire, you must cultivate and get the right behaviors and habits of your team. The natural question becomes, how do leaders get these things consistently? By setting high standards, holding people accountable and allowing people to choose to meet or exceed them. A standard is simply defining what good looks like. If you are clear in defining them and your people are held accountable, you will see a consistent pattern of good choices.

9. Coach for Skill

All coaching interactions between you and your people should have a common theme: make an individual better, not tear them down. You should proactively be coaching an individual based on their skills. Skill is defined as “the ability to do something well”. It is imperative that you understand the three levels of skill development in order to best serve your people. These include; building critical mass, accelerated performance, and mastery. Varying tactics and techniques are necessary during your coaching conversation dependent on where a team member is within the three levels.

10. Coach for Long-Term Development

Developing skills to help you and your business in the short-term presents a great deal of value. However, you must go beyond the short-term and contribute to the long-term success and well being of your people. I help leaders to evaluate the following 5 areas components when coaching for long-term development: Do you have development mindset? Do you encourage people to no end? Do you go beyond the job? Do you challenge what’s possible? Do you align to your people’s dreams? If you can answer these questions about each member of your team, they know you care about them for the long haul. Which means the more they will give you in the short term.

Every leader began somewhere. If you are anything like most leaders, it’s safe to say you didn’t take your job of leading others seriously enough early on. You probably just winged it or did what came naturally. This is what has created a low quality of leaders in the current workplace. The latest statistics show 60% of new leaders fail within the first 18 months of their job. Additionally, the vast majority of people don’t have confidence in the leaders they currently have.

In order for you to excel as a leader, you must work hard to understand, master, and apply these ten tips on an ongoing basis.

Ultimate Leadership Academy Do you lead a team and want to go to use these 10 tips to go to the next level? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to join the 3-month online academy which follows the core curriculum of these 10 tips. Learn more and sign up here.

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. He is also the author the upcoming book “Elevate Others: The New Model to Successfully Lead Today.” You follow him on instagram @johngeades.

The High Performance Leadership Challenge [Video]

Most leaders regardless of tenure stray from keeping their purpose, mission and vision at the forefront of everything that they do. They focus on the lagging KPI’s not the leading KPI’s.  This causes employees to be unsure of why they come to work, unfulfilled in the work that they do, and a culture focused solely on results instead of the process.

It was important to our leadership team that this didn’t happen to us.  This is our journey on how we solved it.  Hopefully you can learn some best practices to put into place in your own teams.

Learn more at about ‘High Performance Leadership’ for you or your team here.

Follow the 4 week journey on YouTube by subscribing.


The Critical Foundation of High Performing Teams

This is a guest post written by Roderick Yapp:

A couple of months ago, I was sat in a meeting with someone who was looking to recruit people to their growing organization. We were talking about the type of people they were looking for and the fact that a service based business is heavily dependent upon the quality of its people.

We started to talk about ex-military candidates – at which point someone said ‘we want to attract them because they follow orders and do what they’re told…’

Once I had ‘corrected the individual’ on the fact that former servicemen don’t simply follow orders, I was left reflecting on the myth that still exists – that servicemen follow orders doing what they are told without challenge or pausing to think about the consequences of their actions.

It doesn’t work like that

People need a reason to do something – they need a purpose to support their actions. If they don’t have that, then they will never truly commit to doing something whole-heartedly. When the ‘going gets tough’ their enthusiasm and engagement will crumble…

Lessons from the Holocaust

Victor Frankl discovered this concept during the holocaust. A brilliant psychotherapist, he was imprisoned in Auschwitz by the Nazis during the second World War. Frankl details his account in the book, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ which Tony Robbins  describes as arguably ‘the most important book ever written’.

Frankl explains that there is no universal meaning to life. Each individual has to find their own meaning – their own purpose for which to live. Without that, we struggle to find direction or commit ourselves in pursuit of a goal that is worthwhile.

During his four years in Auschwitz, Frankl was one of the few prisoners with medical training so he was placed in charge of the sick. He was able to predict with worrying accuracy when someone would die based on the moment they lost the will to live. He describes how cigarettes were used as an internal currency in the camp. The moment that someone started to smoke all of their cigarettes was the ‘beginning of the end’ for them.

They’d lost their will to live – they’d lost their purpose – smoking the cigarettes was one of the first behaviours that was symptomatic of that loss.

Frankl survived the war and created logotherapy (logos = meaning) – the central concept being that a person needs a purpose, a reason to live.

Simon Sinek built on this concept with his TEDx Talk using the Wright Brothers and Apple as examples to explain his point.

So how does this relate to the military?

How does the military ensure that it has a sense of purpose in everything it does?

It is written into our doctrine – our standard way of doing things. Every mission is required to have what is called ‘a unifying purpose’. A mission statement must include the phrase ‘in order to’

It is our mission to recapture this vessel in order to secure the safe release of the hostages.

It is our mission to conduct a patrol of the local area in order to reassure the local population.

It is our mission to provide a block to the south of Musa-Qala in order to prevent enemy reinforcements from reaching the town.

When you are taught how to write orders, you are taught that soldiers and marines need a purpose – a reason to do what you ask of them.

They’re no different from anyone else in that respect, they need to know why they are doing something – they don’t just do it because someone tells them to. They don’t do it because they are just following orders. When people simply follow orders, it usually leads to bad things happening because they don’t stop to think if it is the right thing to do.

Having a purpose is vital, both at an individual and at a team level. The military make sure that they provide a purpose in every mission statement – it wouldn’t be a mission statement without an ‘in order to’. This approach has been standardised across NATO because it is universal – it crosses cultural boundaries addressing the need we all have for a purpose behind our actions.

A Sense of Purpose is one of the Foundations of a High Performing Team

High Performing Teams are the reflection of Great Leadership

Maintaining the purpose as a central principle is vital to ensuring that when the going gets tough, people have a reason to keep going.

In our High Performance Leadership Program the first thing that we help leaders to create on the course is the teams purpose.

We help people to understand the concept and coach them to discover their own purpose – because without it, why should anyone follow you?

For more information on the High Performing Leadership programfor individuals and for organisations – please click the following link

First Published on the on the Leadership Forces Website.