What stops you from offering a word of praise to those you think did a good job?
I think that it is important to recognize those you work with - those below, along-side, and above you in the org. chart. That means everyone.
I occasionally have conversations with people because they feel like the thing I am recognizing is too small to warrant recognition. I disagree that wins and recognition should only be called out on big items, for the following reasons:
You need to exercise your recognition muscles and get in the habit of recognizing people. If you wait for the one big thing then you are likely to be out of the habit and practice, and you may not follow through on recognizing the win.
Recognizing individuals for small things that you value is important because there are plenty of things that need to get done this world that aren't glamorous. Recognizing people for these things is not wrong, when it matters. Very often this is about how it was done, not what the thing was. Did someone do it cheerfully? Easily? Did it make your day better? Did it make the whole machine work a little better? If the answer to one of those is 'Yes', then it mattered and is deserving of recognition.
Praising small things that are important isn't lowering your standards. Well, it isn't lowering my high standards anyway. I know what my standards are. I just outlined them above. What are yours? Is anything going to meet your standards?
The last item might sound a bit harsh. It probably is. The most important question I think you should ask yourself if you are out of the habit of recognizing others: Is it your standards or something else that is getting in the way?
My name is Jonathan Fries. I work for Exadel, Inc. Exadel is a great company, with great people all around the world. I currently lead the Boulder, CO, USA office.