The Art of Giving Praise

Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on

Steve Demaio, contributor to the Harvard Business Review blog, offers some advice on how to give praise to your employees.  Read his full article here.  Giving the right kind of praise helps reinforce the positive behaviors we see in others.  Here are some examples of his principles:

1. Be truly specific.  Precise feedback helps the person understand where their strengths were realized.  General comments like “Great job!” just aren’t specific enough.

2. Don’t confuse politeness with praise.  Simply put, being polite doesn’t reward your employees for their hard work.  Aim your praise to the employees’ specific accomplishments and contributions to the team.  Example, ” Your timeliness always helps be do my job better.  Thanks.”

3. Praise with action, not just words.  Actions speak louder than words, so follow up your praise with an action that the employee can build upon for next time.

4. Don’t pad constructive criticism with empty praise.  Criticism sandwiched with praise is certainly a good delivery method, but using generalized praise will only undercut the authentic praise you give at other times.

Demaio offers some great advice on how to provide genuine praise so your employees can keep doing the great work that has contributed to the success of the team.  Because being authentic is key to making praise work, The Leadership Trust helps connect your head with your heart so that your praise is experienced as genuine.  This means you won’t feel awkward offering praise if this has not been a natural behavior or yours.  This is what is meant by authentic leadership, and we have unique processes designed to help you with this.  Read more about our Personalized Leadership Development Program and how it gets you reacquainted with your real self.  Now that’s freedom!

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