Making Praise Really Count

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Over at Inc., Suzanne Lucas suggests that managers be more specific when praising employees than saying something like good job. This is is both to better demonstrate one's appreciation and as a means of providing better guidance. This she follows up with ten ways to go about doing so.

Lucas's mention of the phrase good job -- which seems so over-used on children I was already using alternatives for my own -- caused me to think of parenting, but a couple of her examples caused me to realize that her advice has even wider application. Her first alternative is the best example:

Don't 'good job' me! (Image by Zahra Amiri, via Unsplash, license.)
That was so creative. How did you come up with that idea? This is helpful because it not only praises the person; it lets them know you are interested in what they did. People love to talk about themselves, and this opens up the door for them to do that. Good feelings all around.
And you get a chance to learn from them, if you need to. (See also, "Let's talk," in some cases.)

The chances to learn for oneself hardly end there. Something I started doing some time ago -- listing three "wins" at the end of each day -- can benefit from this. For example, one jet-lagged morning, I woke up three hours late with a blog post to do. Getting it done by my usual time was one of that day's wins.

Considering why, specifically, I was able to work so fast yielded the immediate dividend of realizing, "Oh yeah. I was going to write that ahead of time the evening before, but got sidetracked." This lead me to realize that deciding what I was going to write about probably got my subconscious going enough that the post just flowed out.

I do this now, whenever I can.

Praise others and yourself thoughtfully as a matter of justice, and you will improve yourself and your relationships in the process.

-- CAV

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