The need for open celebration of achievements

A lot of managers avoid public celebration of 'individual success'.

What's wrong with open acknowledgement of a person's contribution? Does it really demotivate others in a team? I suppose this dilemma pops up more often if a person is repeatedly being rewarded for his or her contribution. The fear of being perceived as playing favourites keeps some managers from openly rewarding the same person repeatedly. But is that reason enough to adopt a rota system for rewards?

There is a risk with trying to be too balanced with incentives for great performance. A team that is regularly presented with tough challenges everyday needs consistent high performers. High performers seek acknowledgement and rewards. If these are hard to come by? Well, one can always feel happier with the spike in salary another company is offering, right? While the intent is to keep everyone happy, a manager may end up losing his best players, adding to the stress of the average performer and leaving everyone unhappy.

So how do you keep both top and your average performers happy?

Here are a few possible solutions to this dilemma:

1. Heads-up:
Announce rewards in advance where possible. You are not attaching a name to the reward at this stage. Just setting goals and announcing celebration. This gives everyone a fair start and avoids the perception of rewards being developed to cater to one person

2. Start low:
Acknowledging small wins from the start with simple, inexpensive rewards is a big help. It gives a chance for the 'average performers' to latch on to the perform-reward cycle. They see acknowledgement for their work as well, not just of the one star performer in the team.

3. Address misconceptions, rumors early up, head on:
Many a rumors become self fulfilling prophesies by constant repetition. If you have one nosy gossiper in the team who is bent on twisting the facts to make an interesting tale, address this development early up and directly. Looking the other way only encourages such behavior.


All views expressed here are my own and not endorsed by my employer or any other company. Cases presented do not necessarily relate to my employer, peers or team. - Vikrant