Rewards! The Best Way to Keep Your Momentum Going

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I bought myself a pair of white leather booties with cool silver tassles as a reward at the beginning of closing my first low five-figure deal with a virtual program I was selling. It wasn’t the value of the program that I questioned, but rather the form of the delivery being virtual versus in person.

But when I look at these beauties I don’t just see a pair of fun funky boots, I see something different. They are a reminder, “You got this. You’ll figure it out. Cause that’s who you are.”

They serve as a reminder and a reinforcement of a job well done and an important affirmation to breathe, trust, and keep taking action during these seismic times of uncertainty; something we’re all familiar with. And when I see these boots I smile. Not just cause I enjoy wearing them!

That’s the power of giving ourselves and each other REWARDS!

Study after study shows that employees feeling appreciated overrides almost every other factor in terms of performance, retention, and engagement. Rewards are vital tools to show employees and team members they matter, they’re appreciated, and being celebrated.

Rewards give us a soft sweet landing in the world of hard knocks especially now. They are reminders of our competence, our scrappiness, and that we’re worthy of celebration. They allow us to take in and digest rather than just rushing to cross the next item off our things-to-do list; something I’m very familiar with.

Rewards are also linked to brain science. When we reward ourselves and others you light up the parietal lobe (reward center of the brain) and we become incentivized to replicate that accomplishment. So it’s not only a good leadership and team-building practice, it’s also how we’re hardwired to perform.

In my behavioral wellness meets professional development consulting work, I often ask leaders how they build in meaningful, thoughtful, and specific rewards to celebrate and incentivize their team. Most supervisors look at me like I asked how to get to Afghanistan using side roads. They stare at me blankly. Then they say things like “we give them nice bonuses based on performance,” “we have good benefits here” and during pre-covid times, “casual Fridays.” All of these are nice perks and bennies of the job, but that’s very different from actual specific and meaningful rewards for accomplishments, shifts, and milestones along the way.

When it comes to giving your team members rewards, here are some overriding principles I find helpful:

Listen. Listen. Listen. – Thoughtful rewards and gifts don’t have to take a lot of time, or cost a lot of money but do take some attention. For example, if a team member is often drinking tea on the zoom call, ask them what their favorite brand and flavor of the tea is, and then send them a tin of it with a short note thanking them for going the extra mile on a certain account. Guaranteed when they save that tin of that tea they will be reminded of the pleasurable feeling of being both rewarded and appreciated.

Make it specific to them- Nothing wrong with a general gift card, if you don’t know them well, but even if it’s a certain store or company that you know they like to go to, that adds meaning.

Link the reward to a specific outcome, shift, or behavior- Don’t just say thanks for “helping out,” or “great job.” Be specific. Show that you were paying attention. Maybe they were so detailed oriented and scrappy that they saved the client thousands of dollars, or maybe they were tenacious, innovative, or super loyal. Pepper that in.

People are HUNGRY to be seen, heard, and appreciated!

It costs us nothing, but it takes something!

So whether you’re a team of 1 or 100, make sure to find ways to reward yourself and others for a job well done!

How will you reward yourself and others today in a meaningful way for a job well done?

I’d love to hear from you



  • Lois Barth

    Lois Barth is a human development expert, motivational speaker, coach, and thrilled to have delivered her first ‘book child,’ “Courage to Sparkle.” She champions women to share their brilliance and to live an authentic life. She speaks at women’s conferences all over the country and has been quoted in The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, Fitness, Weight Watchers, and to name a few.

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