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Article -> True Leaders Recognize Good Followers

Date Added: May 2006

While the question of how to develop great leaders is discussed on a daily basis in many high-performing organizations, the importance of followers remains overlooked. Leaders are successful based on their team and, it is difficult to be effective without good followers. Research shows that while employees can live without a corner office, perks or assigned parking; one thing they cannot go without for long periods of time is recognition. 
Statistics show that 79% of people that leave their jobs cite lack of appreciation as one of the key reasons – not compensation. These employees increased their compensation by approximately 5% at their new jobs. Few people will leave their workplace for that type of increase in pay. However, people do leave in search of good leaders who provide them with challenges, opportunities and confirmation that they make a difference – supported by recognition and rewards.1
Concepts of "recognition" and "praise" are two critical components for creating positive emotions in organizations. These positive emotions can lead to:
  • Increased individual productivity
  • Increased employee engagement among colleagues
  • Likeliness to stay with an organization
  • Higher customer loyalty and satisfaction ratings
  • Better safety records and fewer lost time accidents
Companies that do employee recognition “right” typically have turnover rates of 4% or less. There are many simple and effective ways to improve recognition at your organization.
  • Recognize people that go above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Use communication with people. Say good morning. Ask people how their weekend was. Practicing simple courtesy is a powerful relationship-building tool. Also, become familiar with people’s families is a huge motivational booster.
  • Give employees public credit for their contributions.
  • Keep your commitments to employees. Do what you say you’re going to do.
Great leaders provide a vision for success, but without followers, these plans cannot come to fruition. Recognition is the key to turning vision into reality.
1Gostick, Adrian, and Chester Elton. "People Don't Leave Companies – They Leave Managers." SHRM.
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