Chapter 22

Are You an Over-Recognizer?

If you are great at recognition, you loved that last chapter. You might even be standing on your chair saying, “Yes! Absolutely, Mike! I am great at this section!” Not so fast! There are leaders (and you may be one) who are so ready to praise and encourage everybody for everything that their acknowledgment loses its effectiveness. This can come in the form of gushing, fake recognition, or failure to recognize the right people for the right reasons.


You know gushers, don’t you? Those chronically chipper people that just love to tell other people how wonderful they are and how much they are appreciated? Gushers are often so syrupy that their sincerity is called into question (if not publicly, then certainly privately). The biggest challenge with being an over-recognizer is that credibility is lost in the love fog that so freely rolls over the people being led. As much as people are demotivated by leaders who under-recognize, there is an equal demotivation factor from leaders who recognize so much and with such flair that it isn’t really trustworthy or meaningful.

“Hold it, hold it, hold it! Mike, in the previous chapter you said that people will never complain that they are being over-recognized. Now you’re saying that I can be an over-recognizer. So which way is it? Because now I’m confused!” Don’t fear! I’m going to make a distinction that makes sense.

The distinction has to do with whether recognition is deserved and based on performance. ...

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