Rediscover recognition in collaboration

When employees are back at work after corona, it’s not like after a vacation where they need to be updated on each other’s travel memories. They come back with a turbulent time behind them and an uncertain time ahead of them. In order to succeed in the collaboration again, relations must be strengthened. Learn how to strengthen relationships with recognition.

What the pre-corona crisis employees perceived as a normal work day is now vastly different from employee to employee when they need to be in the same room again. Some may have a spouse who has lost his/her job or a close family member who is at risk. It affects collaboration. To succeed, you must have the courage to acknowledge what employees and organisations are doing well, while adapting the organisation to a new everyday life.

When you recognize each other in the workplace, it reinforces the importance of the relationship and creates the basis for e.g. a team to do even more. When all team members’ relationships have value to them, there is greater opportunity to talk at ease about what challenges them.

What is recognition?

When you are recognized, you become aware of your resources and can to a much greater extent see opportunities while having an open dialogue about what is difficult. It is through the recognition of others that we develop a positive self-understanding.

The way one recognizes others, according to the German philosopher Axel Honneth * (b. 1949) is expressed through three different spheres:

Love. This form of recognition belongs in the private sphere. When you meet the recognition here, it leads to self-confidence. The recognition of love is special in that it is a prerequisite for being part of the social community and society and thus the next two spheres of recognition.

Respect belongs in the judicial sphere which relates to rights and to being equal in relation to one another and the law. It leads to self-respect.

Appreciation is found in the solidarity sphere, which includes, among other things, your work and relationships with colleagues. When you are recognized as a unique and irreplaceable employee or colleague who contributes to the team, you are given the opportunity to relate positively to its specific characteristics and opportunities. This kind of recognition builds self-esteem.

If one encounters the opposite of love, is denied his/her rights or experiences, for example, rejections, it wears our confidence, self-respect and self-esteem.

It is a crucial element that relationships between people affect the individual. The way you, as a manager, meet your employees when they re-enter the workplace, influences the employee’s own view of themselves, which in turn affects, for example, the team the employee is in.

Fight for the team

The level of collaboration can be seen as a concrete expression of how the appreciation and recognition is felt both from leader to team and return as well as internally within the team

As you cultivate collaboration and common goals, individual efforts have a bearing on the overall goals of the organisation. Get back to work and fight for the team while you are appreciated. If, on the other hand, you end up in a situation where it is perceived as everyone’s struggle against everyone for the individual job survival without the energy to recognize the others in the organisation and their efforts, the overall result and the job can be at risk.

Therefore, recognition of both individual and team efforts is important at a time when cooperation must be restored.

Lead with recognition

Have you and your team been apart for months or have you worked with distance and focus away from the team? When you, as a leader, have once again assembled your entire team, spend time together and with the individual to hear how they have been doing and ask about what has worked well. Highlight the positive that both the individual and the team can take with them. It plays a role in the way the experiences from a difficult situation are discussed and used subsequently. Was it just hard and hard, or did we learn something and develop?

Growing recognition can happen by the way we reproduce it. When you witness what your employees have said, you acknowledge that something has been tough while emphasizing small as great successes and learnings in your rendering. As a leader, you can create the basis for your employees to grow and develop further.

To achieve goals and not only stop what has happened, you, as a leader, can continue to work on the following issues, which are looking forward to the team and cultivating recognition:

How is collaboration currently? Is there anything we can do to strengthen it and each other?

If you and your team were to describe the collaboration through a thermometer, where 37.4 degrees is ideal for achieving its goals and thriving, how do you each feel that the collaboration has it. Keep your focus on collaboration all the time and not on the contribution of individuals, for example. Put your marks on the thermometer, listen to each other’s explanations and find out what you can learn and use from the situations where the collaboration is too cold or hot. It can help to illustrate how collaboration is when it feels nice around 37 degrees. Recognize each other for input along the way by, for example, saying thank you and, preferably, what it gave by reflections on the recipients. If you have many in the team, this can happen in smaller groups and eventually gather in plenary. The important thing is that everyone is going to put their own words in it.

We are social beings who thrive when we are recognized. Reproduce it softly and highlight where, for example, the collaboration works and the team thrives. It can create a forward-thinking narrative of your work, in which everyone has a role and would like to contribute to success.

When you know more about where cooperation is good, it is relevant to work on how to maintain good cooperation.

Ask each other how is it experienced when the recognition of cooperation is present? What will be possible?

This question can be extended to work with the thermometer and, it helps to raise awareness of how everyone in the team has a role in strengthening and maintaining good collaboration. In addition, it can also say what is the wishes and expectations of both manager and employee. These expectations become easier to recognize, tune in and talk about when it comes to focusing on what you want to do to develop together.

Finally, you can draw and describe where you imagine you are in three months. How do you get together?

Collaboration is not a static element, it is constantly changing. Therefore, it is good to look ahead and set a common direction for the collaboration before the team again goes their separate ways. This can be done by each outlining the future or, it can be done in groups before it is split into plenary. Your role as a leader is to gather the most important points and create a common picture of where you now work together towards them.

The thermometer can be continuously taken out when needed and told each other what creates the good cooperation, how recognition comes into play and where the goal is. This session reaffirms the individual in their value to the team and positively affects self-esteem, which in turn contributes to the team positively.

Thanks is a small thing to say, but it has such a big impact.

If you want to work with recognition individually or in teams, you can contact me to hear more.

You can also read more about team coaching and coaching.

Would you like to read more

Would you like to read more: * Honneth, Axel (2006): Fight for recognition, Copenhagen, Hans Reitzels Forlag.

This post was first posted on Lederweb – see more here (In Danish)