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Recognition Feedback Motivation

Our manager gives us recognition, but on a regular cycle. He takes each of us to lunch every six weeks. And every three weeks like clockwork, I'll get praise from him, and the others in the department are on their own three week cycle. The praise and recognition are nice, but kind of meaningless. Why would a manager do this?

As you say, praise and recognition are nice, but when based on clockwork rather than individual work, they change from being nice to being noise. This predictable managerial strategy contradicts basic aspects of reinforcement, since the most effective form of reinforcement is intermittent and based on performance.

Your manager may be using this approach for many of the right reasons. He probably understands the major role that recognition plays in motivation. Since time seems to fly on the job, it is easy for some managers to focus so deeply on their own work that they overlook this central element of effective management. By having recognition days on their calendar for each employee, such managers know they will get it in at least once.

Unfortunately, this is not effective management, since scheduled recognition is hollow. It is far more effective to provide employees with thanks, credit, and recognition not only when merited by their performance, but also as close to such performance as possible.

It sounds like your manager's heart is in the right place. With more experience and training, perhaps he will learn to put recognition in the right place, too.

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