More people recognize the admirable role women play in business even though women are still underrepresented in top leadership positions. (Only 4% of CEO’s in US companies are women.) But studies recognize the difference women business leaders make in the companies they work for. One study showed that the 25 Fortune 500 firms with the best record of promoting women to high positions were between 18% and 69% more profitable than the median Fortune 500 firms in their industries.
Recognizing women business leaders for the strength they bring to your company can mean increased revenues, increased innovation, and an increase in quality in the workplace. What can you do to affirm the value women bring to your business? What can you do to individually recognize the women business leaders who work with and for you?
Private Recognition Both men and women in leadership positions respond to feeling valued, respected, and understood. Take the time to:
- Listen and look for the positive. Look for each success and be quick to comment. When you acknowledge the effort and the accomplishment your praise is high reward.
- Praise good work to others, not only to the person who did it. When Jessica finished a difficult report and handed it in a day early, her boss thanked her and praised her for her good work. When the boss discussed the report in the committee, he commented to the committee about Jessica getting the report to him early so he had extra time to review it. And he praised the excellent research that went into the report. Those good words give Jessica extra visibility, and inevitably the praise will come back to her, helping her feel assured of the value she’s giving.
- Be sincere and be specific. When you recognize your woman business leaders, you need to say more than, “Nice job.” Tell them exactly what it is that has earned your praise. “Excellent work. This report is clear and focused.”
Public Recognition Public recognition does more than just give an “attaboy” or “attagirl.” It does more than highlight their accomplishment, recognize their value, or even make them feel good. Public recognition adds to the “expert” status of your business leaders. It gives them increased visibility, increased credibility, and perhaps even head-of-the-line promotion chances.
Recognize your obligation as a good business leader to make ways to give public recognition. Consider these venues.
- Meetings, committees, and other gatherings are great times to call out exceptional efforts
- Newsletter articles can highlight outstanding leaders
- Official Executive of the month or quarter with appropriate fanfare can add prestige
- Certificates, commendations, and other official rewards delineate that distinguished status
Pay and Perks There is real power in putting your money where your mouth is. Bonuses, promotions, and pay raises are excellent ways to recognize your business leaders — men or women. Money is a time honored assessment of value.
When it’s not possible to create a financial thank you, consider recognizing company leaders with other perks.
- A private parking spot closer to the office
- An office with larger windows
- Travel in the corporate jet
- Extra comp time
- Specialized training or coaching to advance their careers
Even simple things like flowers, a hand written note, or personalized desk plaque can be a meaningful way to show value and recognize your executive women.
Women business leaders enrich and enhance the companies they work with and for. Recognizing them will bring the companies added value and loyal executives. Take the time to assess the degree to which you offer praise and honor to your key executives.
If you feel you could benefit from increased understanding in how to bring out the best in your employees, contact Joel for executive coaching.
Copyright ©2005-2014 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved.
Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of 7 books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world's leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle, and many more. Visit Joel online at Garfinkle Executive Coaching. Subscribe to his Fulfillment@Work Newsletter and receive the FREE e-book, 40 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!
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