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Recognition - Contribution

What teams have you played for? As a boy I discovered rugby. I was bored of being the last one picked for a football team, as I was somewhat chubby and my feet couldn’t really control a ball. I discovered in rugby, my large size helped. As a forward, my size and strength was needed to hold onto a ball and drive into the opposition in a ruck or a maul. What I also loved about rugby was that there were different types of person needed for the different roles. Behind the forwards were the backs, quicker, faster and more nimble. Linking them together was the scrum half, smaller yet strong, able to nip in get the ball and pass to the fast backs. Each person in the team having a key role, each needing to play it well to make the team perform well.

One of my favourite writers is Patrick Lencioni and his work on 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, is must for anyone wanting to ensure their team works well. In a recent ‘At the Table’ podcast of his, he talked about 3 key elements for growing a good team. He said they were:

  1. Get the right people on the bus. They need to be a) humble, b) hungry c) smart (emotionally intelligent).

  2. Get them in the right seats - use their strengths and areas of genius

  3. Purposefully develop them

It is simple clarity. Do this and you will have a team that will do well. But it is not as easy as putting 3 lego blocks together. These three need to be stitched together well and constantly nurtured to ensure it continues and grows. So, how do you do this well.

Right People

There are some real practicalities here. For the right people, you need good interview processes where you are clear on what you are looking for and judge people coming in by that criteria. But, as we mentioned last week, you also need to use the power of praise. Create the Meerkat Moments by regularly praising the characteristics of humble, hungry and smart that you want to see. It creates a culture in this area.

Right seats

Again, practicalities of good processes to identify strengths and allocate them to the right role are needed. The Pareto Principle talks about 85% of our output comes from 15% of our time, which are the times we are operating in our sweet spot or strength areas. When we identify people’s strengths and put them in roles that best suit that we get a good output. But how do you maintain people’s focus? It comes down again to the Power of Praise. When we see them operating in their strengths spot and they are doing a good job, we need to tell them that. Praise what you want to see.

Purposefully Develop

In our Leadership Lounge Podcast last week, we discussed the Power of Praise. One of the guests, talked about how giving people opportunities to do something they are skilled at is in fact praise as it is recognition of a skill of theirs. Giving them opportunity to use it and develop it, is a huge encouragement and endorsement. Praise can come in the form of words, a gift, a hand on the shoulder (although not in Covid times!) and also in the recognition of opportunity for someone to use their skills. Making sure that we nurture their unique contribution is a key part of that and praise and recognition helps people to know what is valued and the difference it makes. As a young rugby player, the coach would tell us when we had made a unique contribution and what it was. Knowing what we do well and the difference it makes to those around us, ensures that we focus in on that. It is the same with our teams. Praise has the power to ensure we keep delivering our unique contribution. When each person in a team makes their high-quality contribution, it leads to a high-quality service from the whole team.

A key part of this is the leader knowing

a) What is the unique contribution that is needed from each role?

b) What does high quality in this role look like?

c) Knowing each person and what they bring so you can match them to the right role.

d) Making sure that you praise it when you see it.

So, give it a try. Use the ‘Power of Praise’ as the glue to help get your right people, in the right seats, focusing on their right contribution. Let us know how it goes.

If you would like help through coaching or training on how to identify your organisation’s identity, improve your culture or the use of praise, then please do contact us and we would love to help you.

Leadership Lounge podcast

Patrick Lencioni Podcast


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