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Go public when expressing gratitude; go private when expressing disappointment.

Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on

Today’s post from Trust Across America – Trust Around the World: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/trust-gratitude-company-morale-barbara-brooks-kimmel

Holly Latty-Mann offers this week’s advice. Holly is both a Top Thought Leader in Trust and an active member of our Trust Alliance.

Go public when expressing gratitude; go private when expressing disappointment.

While cultural differences do exist regarding response to positive public recognition, no company on record has ever lost an employee due to discomfort with public praise. David Sturt (HBR, November, 2015) shared findings that employees in the USA, India, and Mexico tend to revel in it, while those from Australia and the UK enjoy it with less fanfare. When publicly acknowledging the Japanese, Germans, and French, small-scale publicity is more appropriate.   

What about shame-based management via public chastisement? Not all employer humiliation or harassment is illegal as long as the verbal abuse is unrelated to demographics (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity). Perhaps that explains the high prevalence of managers belittling coworkers publicly on job performance, yet across all cultures, such behaviors are shown to compromise trust in management, for which statistical evidence clearly points to a compromised bottom line (http://bit.ly/1WBOBp6).

A final note:  Company morale goes respectively up or down when a single person is publicly honored or dishonored, and the literature is prolific with studies showing strong positive correlations among morale, productivity, and revenue.