Four R’s That Propel Progress

Respect, Recognition, Rewards, and Responsibility

There exist as many arguments surrounding success as the ‘specialists’ pushing them. Every ‘sage on the stage’ propounds his/her personal account of success with a formula that appears clear yet uncertain of bringing one to the aspired objective.

What do we do when confronted with a challenge? There exist so many possibilities depending upon a specific task or situation. The mismatch between assumptions and performance causes unsightly fireworks.

Both organizations and employees commit themselves to a written Code of Conduct. They need to remember the accepted etiquette for human cooperation as well. The minute someone dares cross the fine line, the results are often less than pleasant. The instigating employee faces possible discharge from his/her position; or an entire group could become liable to the executive, with its future on the line. Where the administration itself crosses the fine line, subordinates come down with their response in a befitting fashion. The growing sense of resistance in the workforce leads to a lack of production. It could be awkward to establish the fault of one specific member of the executive team without hostility from the others.

Do you wish to limit discontent on either side? If yes, is it feasible? You bet it is! Please allow me to shed light on these four pillars of progress in the life of a decision-maker:

Respect: It can only be commanded and never demanded. In its natural form, respect is the double-edged sword that can either bridge communication gaps or destroy bonds of understanding. Robert H. Schuller gave us such a powerful message in the following words:   “As we grow as unique persons, we learn to respect the uniqueness of others.”

What goes around comes around. Respect everyone as much as yourself, and you will form bonds of close harmony and care. Disrespect one human being and count on the identical treatment meted out to you by myriad others. Why, because bad news travels much faster than the good one! Whether you are the chief or the lower level employee, your gentle behavior coupled with a respectful approach shall be eternally useful. Showing disrespect to your subordinates will be inadequate to expect optimum productivity from them. Disrespect to your seniors will contribute to your abrupt, ignominious exit.

Recognition: The deeper you appreciate your team members, higher the degree of production you will receive out of them. Respect helps instill a spirit of togetherness. And that produces ‘Recognition.’ Think of the classical axiom: “Recognition is what Babies Cry for, and Men Die for?” When the little one cries, the mother recognizes its demand for feed or change of nappies.

When conflicts occur between nations, combat follows. In every battle, substantial amounts of individuals lose their lives on both sides. Each one of the militant groups fights for what they recognize as their right. They put their lives at risk, so their abiding faith in the nation they represent gets recognition, whether reasonable or not.

Every group, organization, business entity or family rests on the foundation of togetherness. Every member performs a particular assignment to reach the underlying purpose of the entire TEAM. TEAM, in my view, relates to Together Everybody Achieves More or Together Everyone Acquires Money. Take your pick!

First things first, we need to recognize our position. Next important measure is the efficiency of our conduct. Our action/s may not breed displeasure in others. Last, but not the least, we must maintain a steady and uniform measure of growth.

The leading performers that work over and above their prescribed responsibilities deserve special recognition. Sometimes, short-sighted and opportunistic management ignores this essential element of its duties. The rising surge of frustration leads to a disturbance that becomes difficult to stop.

We know families split up because one member is very controlling and declines to recognize others’ participation. Mega-corporations have gone broke because of mismanagement. The responsible officials didn’t see common areas of reciprocal care and sustained growth. Sitting in their ivory towers, they didn’t pay heed to their employees’ demands. Their focus on themselves and their generous perks deprived them of the possibility to make calculated shifts in the face of difficulties. The 4 Rs became their adversary and brought the entire organization to its heels. Can you afford the same mistakes? I guess not!

Rewards: Rewards in recognition of outstanding performance generate a keener sense of beating expectations every step of the way. Rewarding one outstanding employee motivates many others to follow suit. This mark of appreciation increases the employees’ confidence in the administration beyond monetary advantage as it gets to the heart of the victor. It sends out a message that this individual’s extraordinary work has not gone unrecognized. It generates a sense of increased focus in the entire workforce.

“For them to perceive the advantage of defeating the enemy, they must also have their rewards.” -Sun Tzu, the widely recognized master military strategist from ancient China, also known for his treatise ‘The Act of War.’

The expectation of a reward for successful completion of an assigned responsibility acts as one of the most elegant baits management uses to its best advantage. Those failing to recognize this fact fail to survive for very long. Rewarding a TEAM Supervisor or Head of the Department generates good outcomes as efficiently. The profits could be much more significant because various employees participated in the job so recognized. The total impact of such attention is the precursor of togetherness.

Responsibility: Antoine De Saint-Exupery, the winner of numerous literary awards in France, as well as the U.S. National Book Award,  extolled the virtues of responsibility in such beautiful words: “A chief is a man who assumes responsibility. He says ‘I was beaten,’ he does not say ‘My men were beaten.” 

Taking responsibility for one’s actions has always been recognized as one of the most outstanding traits of leadership. When entrusted with responsibility, it is your job to make sure you have plugged all holes and tied all corners as needed. Any error going unnoticed on your watch will only result in a negative consequence, depending upon the quantum of your job requirements. Higher the stakes, greater the responsibility.

We are at our best when asked to prove ourselves. We have often observed that moving personnel from one activity to another or from one section to the other, from a lower level to a higher level or from a small room to a spacious room is more productive. Monotonous jobs do not allow us the opportunity to demonstrate our abilities beyond a routine performance chart. Pick one staff member off the workshop and saddle him/her with accountability for only one more of his co-employees’ production. Within a matter of days, you will notice a distinct improvement in both of them. Why? Because they will be more receptive to sharing best methods and thus help decrease the personal challenges that frightened them before.

I do not mean to suggest that you make every employee an administrator. Instead, my utmost assertion is that responsibility creates the desire for individual development. Shift workers that continue working on the same systems, churning out identical commodities again and again for 10, 15 or even 20+ years leave with a hopeless prospect, indifferent to change. They become so used to their everyday habits that they deprive themselves of many outstanding opportunities.

Competent executives know the difference and thus act proactively.  They believe in workers’ welfare and advancement. Continued employee education is an essential component of their business ideology. Such decision makers give each employee an opportunity to shine at whatever he or she finds challenging. They invite employee suggestions and criticisms, accord recognition to the contributors and offer prizes for the most precious ideas.

Success-bound executives avoid workers’ monotony. It goes a long way in keeping their TEAMS hungry for more directions, initiatives, guidance, respect, recognition, rewards, and responsibility.

No wonder you can find so many wealthy individuals around but to look for the truly successful, you will need to focus on the above four pillars that support them to no end!


Bharat Mathur
Bharat Mathur
WHERE goal setting and systematically achieving each one of them has been the ‘Mantra’, where earning trust by delivering value has been an uncompromising principle and where deeply impactful experiences have made an indelible impression to look directly into the eyes of toughest problems and tackling them head-on has been a major cementing glue in the foundation, Bharat Mathur fits the bill, hands down! Creating value for others, out of the challenges his career in the “C” Suite kept throwing at him left, right and center, Bharat now finds solace in being a ‘Guide by Your Side’ rather than a ‘Sage on the Stage with An Eye on What You Buy’! Past 4 decades of Bharat’s life have been no less eventful than that of anyone else in similar circumstances. However, the way he lived from one challenge to another and stayed focused on his goal is clearly visible as much in his Coaching as in his #1 Best Seller Book: “you Are YOU-nique: Realize Your True Worth”! His next book project tackles ‘Internet of things’ (IoT) from the viewpoint of a layman and helps understand this fast-approaching revolution in simple, easy-to-understand language with live examples: “SMART PHONE + I o T = INCOMPARABLE OPPORTUNITIES” Nurturing a number of successful businesses, mentoring a lot more towards astronomical growth and helping them identify and eradicate trouble spots, Bharat has rightfully earned the nickname: ‘Achiever’ Send him Bouquets or Brickbats, Bharat loves it all!
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Larry Tyler

Great article my friend with very usable information. I like that you speak of empowering people.



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