How many of you get too much praising at work? That’s a question that Ken Blanchard has been asking audiences for years. When he does, almost no one ever raises their hands. No one ever says, “I get so much praising at work, I wish they would just stop already.” The reality is that most people will tell you that the only time they ever get any feedback on their work is when something goes wrong. For the vast majority of people, work is a place where “no news is good news.”
That might make for an even-keel, consistent atmosphere, but that is never going to create the type of engagement and passion that so many workers are looking for today.
Why don’t more managers praise people for good work when they see it? Here are a couple of common responses.
- “That’s what they should be doing.”
- “They’ll expect more money if I do.”
- “I’ll say something next time I get a chance.”
That’s a lazy and short-sighted point of view. What if your boss felt this way? What if your boss noticed your good work and didn’t say anything because of these reasons? How would that make you feel? You’d probably feel unappreciated, focus only on the money, and put it on autopilot until performance review time.
Don’t let that happen in your work environment. If you’re a little rusty with showing your appreciation, here are four tips for delivering the perfect praising.
- Make it timely. Praisings are most effective when they are delivered as close to real time as powerful. Take advantage of the spontaneity and excitement of the moment.
- Make it from the heart. Don’t over-think the praising. Share what you are feeling.
- Give specific examples. A general comment like, “You’re really doing good work,” is nice, but a comment like “That report you gave this morning was perfect, it clearly outlined our next steps, and did you see the way that the other executives responded? You really helped us to move this project forward with your work,” is better.
- Don’t ask for more. A praising should never be used as leverage for additional good work out of an employee. Keep it a simple expression of appreciation.
Everyone enjoys being recognized—especially from someone they look up to and respect. Don’t be stingy with your praise. Catch someone doing something right today. You’ll be surprised at the difference in makes in their life—and yours.