Fostering Excellence
Bringing out the best in each of us
Team building is one of the most important things leaders can do in their organizations. Nurturing social capital creates networks of powerful relationships within companies that vitalize performance and create dynamic resilience that can be leveraged when market conditions change.   

Recognition programs, when appropriately implemented, can also foster performance improvements and motivate all the right behaviors necessary for a successful organization.

5 Ways to Leverage Recognition Programs to Team-Build

However, juggling these and many other focus areas can leave leaders struggling to keep up and stay organized. The good news is that these two focus areas, team building and recognition, can dovetail together to simplify the focus of the leader and to mutually reinforce each other. Here are four easy methods to recognize your organization members and team build at the same time:  
1.   Peer recognition program – Peer recognition programs not only allow a greater voice for your organization members to influence how its members are recognized (empowerment), but peer recognition programs also increase social capital amongst organization members as they recognize each other’s positive impact. Impliment a peer recognition program today and watch your teams grow!

2.   Standing team awards program – Having a predictable and consistent team awards program will reinforce team behaviors and award those individuals in your company whose behaviors emphasize team work rather than lone wolf behaviors. Most organizations succeed because of strong teams, not because of strong individuals. Nurture your teams by recognizing their collective efforts and successes!

3.   Second-hand compliments – This may seem like a simple suggestion, but it is powerful. Passing on the compliments you receive about others to those individuals endow the praise with authenticity. Everyone likes to be praised “behind their backs” and communicating that praise increases trust among the involved coworkers. This also incentivizes team members to be more positive with and about each other and builds trust within teams.

4.   Team competitions – Everyone loves friendly competitions, where teams within a division each compete, working towards company goals. Having your organization compete as teams rather than individuals builds those team-oriented relationships, and rewarding the teams as teams goes a long way toward building organizational cohesion. Besides, these competitions are simply fun and add color to the workplace.

5.   Celebrate the wins together - When the office or team lands a contract, beats a sales record, or accomplishes any other significant milestone, it needs to be celebrated. Bring the team together for a leadership-sponsored lunch, let them have a teambuilding day of minigolf. Whatever it is, recognize them as a team and let them celebrate as a team.

Recognition and Teamwork

Elements of a Good Recognition Program

Principles for Outstanding
Award Justifications

Products and Services

There are numerous other ways that team building can be fused with recognition and awards. They key is to select the methods that work best for your organization and to dove-tail these initiatives whenever possible to nurture powerful organizations based on mutual trust. 

Do you need help with a review of your recognition program? Do you need assistance drafting an award justification? I would love to assist you! I can be contacted at [email protected]

Michael Farr, PMP, is a Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and founder of He is passionate about recognition and enabling professionals to motivate their organizations through recognizing their member’s excellence. When he is not slaying dragons with his kids, he can be found at @fosterxcellence on Twitter and @fosteringexcellence on Facebook.