Praise – a reward of which there is never enough

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Last Updated on November 29, 2019 by Lucie Klabanová

(For czech version of the post click here.)

It is a fact that it is often not easy for us to say things straight. I don’t know why, maybe it’s a result of education or the environment we live in, but I feel most people just have this issue. Also I do. Any open conversation with people, especially at work, is a smaller or larger exit from the comfort zone. But as they say, training makes perfect. So it is definitely good idea to train as often as we can.

One form of openness will help you in such training perfectly – praise.

Praise is an open expression of something that you like and it is pleasant for both sides. In contrast to criticism, this form of openness is certainly much easier to give and receive.

Therefore, please praise as often as you can. Part of the praise can be thanks, but also the appreciation itself. Every person is struggling from time to time with a sense of not-good-enough feeling, and any praise is actually proof that “it’s not so bad”. It is a confirmation that what we do is right. That someone else does appreciate it. That they see the value of our time spent on that activity.

Are you right now thinking of when you last praised someone at work?

Did you just remember the big project last year when you really appreciated your colleague?

Great, but you should praise every day!

That there is nothing to praise for?

  • Have you noticed that a colleague has a new shiny hair color? Praise her for her choice.
  • Did you see the child picking up the discarded biscuit wrapper in the street and taking it to the bin? Praise him for being a good boy.
  • Did a colleague take care of an unpleasant customer to the satisfaction of everyone? Praise her how great she did.
  • Did your colleague give you a prepared data, saving you from doing it? Praise him that he made it great and saved you some work.

I could go on like this. Every day you will find a lot of small and bigger reasons to compliment someone, thank him and appreciate him. At work and beyond. All you have to do is keep your eyes open and slow down a little so that those moments don’t run away.

Managers do not have to praise?

If you are a manager, a supervisor, you may think that there is no need to praise. You are the boss, so you have authority and your subordinates are expected to do what they should. So why should you praise them for their work?

You know that having good people in the team is not granted. If you have been managing a team for a while, you have already found out that choosing the right people is not easy at all. And when you already have them, you have even more difficult task: keep them and not let them lose motivation.

Praise is a wonderfully motivating element. Most external motivation does not work, but praise is different. Every person naturally longs for appreciation, the feeling of being important in some way. But how can he feel it if he doesn’t know that he is doing good job? The praise is a trigger for his inner motivation – for the feeling it all makes sense.

If you want to work as effectively as possible, you need to establish a relationship with your co-workers (not just subordinates). You need them to see that when you ask for help, cooperation, you will appreciate it, too.

At work, everyone often feels that someone else should be doing that job, or that the whole process should go a little differently. By appreciating that the colleague has done it anyway, this feeling of injustice is lessened and the overall satisfaction of the work done is greater.

It is good also for us

Last but not least, the impact on ourselves is important. Each of us has a certain amount of altruism and making someone happy, makes us happy. Once you notice that you have pleased someone else, you will experience a pleasant feeling yourself. And this is addictive. :-)

Not to let the praise fall flat

As with most things, praise is not like one another. Do not forget the basic rules of praise:

  • Praise should always be honest. If you hardly invent something that you do not feel, it will be visible and the effect will disappear. In addition, you risk no one will believe your sincere praise next time.
  • Express the praise at the exact moment. To praise a week later does not have the same effect by far.
  • Think carefully if to praise publicly or among four eyes. Praise before a bunch of other people can cause embarrassment and damage the good intention. This is very individual and you will have to choose cautiously. I personally recommend (if possible) to praise first privately and only then in front of another audience (if necessary).
  • If you are a boss, be careful not to privilege someone. Naturally, as humans, we are closer to someone than to another, but as a boss you have to balance your team carefully. Such praise for only one team member would be quite counterproductive. Even the private one – don’t forget that the staff will tell each other.

If you’ve read up to here, what about trying my weekly challenge? ;-) Commit yourself to praise someone at least once a day from today. Whether it’s small things or bigger things. Practice makes master, so do practise.

If you manage the week’s challenge, let me know if you have noticed any changes in your life or around you. You may be surprised. ;-)

I am a mentor, leader and pioneer of business process improvement. I help companies and individuals to find effective ways to achieve their goals. More about me you can find here>>

One Comment

Leave a Reply