The Power of Peer Recognition: Increasing Job Creativity, Performance, and Happiness

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Written by:

Paul Keefe

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October 29, 2019

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Written by:

Paul Keefe

 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

When it comes to staying engaged at work, we can probably list a few things that will assist that process.

  • a vibrant, and caring culture

  • leaders who work beside you, not managers standing above

  • strong sense of meaning and purpose

  • work that challenges, and helps you develop new skills

  • having the the autonomy and trust to get things done on your own

But there is an area that either goes overlooked, or unnoticed all together — and that’s peer recognition.

We often only get feedback from our managers, and coaches — sometimes going long stretches without hearing from them whatsoever. A manager who checks in with the individuals on their team every week has a greater ability to keep a connection with their team than say one who does a once-per-year performance review.

That sounds like a great way to nurture feelings of stalled work, anxiety around job security, and a lack of transparency with your team as a whole.

Let’s say for a moment that your management is fantastic. Let’s call it leadership. Those you have made meaningful commitments to in your organization, in honour of the greater purpose.

Even if you have this sort of connection with those you work for, there is still something missing:

How you get along with those you work with.

Mind blowing stuff, right? Well, consistent peer recognition is being shown to be increasingly more powerful than just feedback from your leaders. Why?

Because we tend to trust and respect the opinions of those that we are working beside the most. When we give and receive positive feedback to those around us, our well-being and performance start to sky rocket.

There is a lot of value that comes from being recognized by the person or team you may have to spend 20–40 hours per week with. Think about the benefits of creating a foundation of psychological safety.

Recognition, engagement, and overall connection is boosted because everyone on the team understands what needs to get done. The nuance of the day to day tasks may get lost when you chat with your boss. But the person you are working together on a project with gets to see those seemingly tiny details. And the little things eventually yield the big things.

When these details are seen, understood, and recognized by those you work with, strong social connections are formed. Those that are the happiest are the ones that nurture deeper social connections.

The nuance of the day to day tasks may get lost when you chat with your boss. But the person you are working together on a project with gets to see those seemingly tiny details.

How can we create an environment where everyone on your team is looking out for one another?

Let’s look at one method that is easy to implement, and can have a profound impact on your teams performance.

Creating 200% Accountability

This is a tactic I got from Crucial AccountabilitySimply put, this method is about everyone having someone to hold themselves accountable, as well as being the person that holds another accountable.

If we want to boost peer recognition, it helps to create a system that actually nurtures this goal. And this system must have an inherent trust component. And building trust comes through the frequency of positive connections and commitments (that are followed through on).

What if you created a system where every new member of your team was paired up with a current team member. Then after a set amount of time — say a week or a month — they in turn had to hold the next newest member accountable? This would probably work well for larger companies with lots of new hires. Or sports teams where players can come and go quickly.

Another method might be to just simply pair people up. Some may have a couple of people to hold accountable, but that’s okay.

Rotating accountability partners is also recommended so you can help to nurture an environment of new connections and ideas.

An accountability system doesn’t have to look anymore complicated than simply meeting up once a week to chat about commitments and how the project is coming along. It’s amazing how far questions like these can go:

  • “How can I help you?”

  • “Do you feel I am doing these tasks with my full ability?”

  • “What do you think about _____?”

  • “When you did _______, that really helped. What was your thought process here?”

When everyone can work together towards a common goal, and do so within a culture that values constant, transparent, and relevant communication, amazing things can happen.

Resources

If you want to read more about the value of peer recognition, check out these great books. They are what inspired this post.


Thank you for reading my article. I hope you found it helpful or at least thought-provoking. If this post did help you, consider sharing it with someone you think it would help too.

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Written by:

Paul Keefe

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October 29, 2019

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