How to have a happy, motivated and engaged team? (Part II)


People need to have their hard work, contribution to the team and achievements recognized. Recognition is such an important thing. All of us love when someone notices our work, our contribution. That is human nature. As an organization, we try to practice the golden rule which is “treat others as you want them to be treated”.

So from young to old, from engineers to logistics, from intern to architect, we need to make a conscious effort to recognize and compliment our colleagues. It is much easier to criticize than to compliment! We know that constructive and precise criticism is definitely needed at times but we believe that recognition and complimenting should be a strong and persistent method of encouraging and even guiding a team or individual. When you compliment a specific thing that you want to encourage you to highlight that and encourage the repetition of that action or attitude.

When this is public it can also be used as a method to show others that you would like them to emulate those particular actions, ways of doing things or attitudes. One issue that we noticed in South Asia is that people often don’t know how to react to recognition and compliments. There are various reasons for this :

  1. The School systems and parents generally don’t compliment or thank children for their achievements but dole out negative criticism.
  2. The system left over from colonial days is fairly regimented, so what people expect in terms of recognition is an award or a title or some sort of external show such as a bigger desk.

This has obliged us as an organization to explain to some of our team members how to react to compliments, something we never thought we would be doing. We have also had to slowly and steadily mold those who want leadership roles to learn to show strong and consistent recognition of the achievements of their teammates.

The takeaway from all of this is that not only does the individual feel better but as people learn to accept and give compliments the team becomes more cohesive. This obviously lends to the overall objective mentioned at the outset, namely to have a happy and productive team.

To close this series off, the words of Christopher McCandless comes to mind. It sums up our ethos on all of this topic.

“Happiness is only real when shared.”