The Secret Ingredient Great Leaders Use to Inspire Their Team

The Secret Ingredient Great Leaders Use to Inspire Their Team

John Eades 12/12/2022
The Secret Ingredient Great Leaders Use to Inspire Their Team

Think back to a time when you received authentic appreciation or recognition from a boss or colleague.

Chances are you felt pride, joy, and fulfillment about yourself and the place you chose to work.

Beyond positive feelings, recognition does something powerful in your brain. Without any additional effort, you will remember and attempt to replicate what caused the praise to happen in the first place. In other words, recognition for your prior effort influences your future behavior.

Recognition for prior effort influences future behavior. 

However, most managers and leaders don’t recognize both the short-term benefit or long-term impact recognition has on their team members. Because of this, they aren’t doing enough of it. A study by Glassdoor found that 80% of employees would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss, and 70% said they’d feel better about themselves and their efforts if their boss thanked them more regularly. If that weren’t important enough, 63% of employees who feel recognized are unlikely to look for another job.

Recognition is the Secret Ingredient to Inspire

Author Fred Reichheld, in his book Winning on Purpose said, "Giving praise and recognition is the secret ingredient great leaders use to inspire their team because it provides the essential fuel to win on purpose."

Authentic recognition improves productivity, performance, and engagement while at the same time reducing voluntary turnover. In other words, 

Recognition Fuels Short Term Engagement and Fuels Long Term Performance

Since giving praise and recognition isn’t a strong suit for most leaders, there is something you can use called the 3 x 3 Praise Model from my book Building the Best to help. The first three parts of the model share what to do when giving praise. You can see the model below or download a copy here for free.


1. Be Definitive 

Clarify what the team member did to deserve the recognition. Instead of just focusing on the result of their work, focus on the behavior that produced it. 

Great recognition focuses on the behavior that produced the outcome, not the result itself.

2. Discuss the Impact of their Behavior

Highlight the impact their behavior had on the team, organization, or themselves. This is critical and often forgotten or assumed. People need to know the work they do helps fulfill the mission and purpose of the team.  

People need to know the work they do helps fulfill the mission and purpose of the team. 

Spell out what good things happened or could happen because of their extra effort. 

3. Show Genuine Appreciation

Tell them how much it meant to you and how much you appreciate what they did for the team. People can see right through a pile of inauthentic words. Take time, write or say real meaningful words.  


I am more convinced than ever that no leader can have a fully engaged team without providing praise and recognition. If that wasn't enough, in this crazy talent war, where voluntary turnover is at an all-time high, leaders must make a concerted effort to provide five times the amount of recognition than feedback.

Since your leadership is temporary, stop waiting to give recognition, do it today.

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John Eades

Leadership Expert

John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on, LinkedIn Pulse,,, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College. 

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