Anyone who has attended any of my training sessions on Servant Leadership knows that one of the most important things that I emphasize in a leader’s responsibility is to focus on building self-esteem, and being intentional about recognizing and encouraging people.

In fact, I always tell leaders that on a day-to-day basis their primary responsibility is to go out and “Catch people doing the RIGHT Thing”! Once caught, then let them know you recognize what they have done, the positive impact that it had, and how much you appreciate them.

When effective at these skills a leader will build relationships, enhance trust, and foster employee engagement. All of these things will naturally lead to enhanced individual and organization performance.

I have heard numerous times from people that this is not something that comes naturally to them and they struggle giving positive recognition and encouragement. Well I believe all aspects of leadership can be learned, practiced, and improved. Providing recognition and encouragement is no different.

This week I heard of a helpful acronym that can be an aid to leaders in being effective at this practice. Remembering “T.A.P.E.” as a tool to know what to look for will enable leaders to make recognition and encouragement a regular part of their daily routine.

  • T – Things that people have
  • A – Achievements
  • P – Personal Strengths
  • E – Evidence!

Using this easy method will help you search out and find things to recognize and encourage people about. It also drives the realization that one of the most important aspects of effective appreciation is real evidence of the positive impact that has been provided. This insures the recognition is real and valid, as opposed to shallow. It puts the responsibility on the leader to be active in this process.

Focusing in this area as a leader will absolutely create an environment in which team members feel appreciated, and in turn will be extremely engaged in accomplishing the purpose of the team and organization.

Are you willing to commit to practicing this important role of your leadership and becoming more effective at recognition and encouragement? What will you do to make that happen?

Mark Deterding