The one thing that will always get results as a leader

Let me ask you’re a question – do you like it when you’re praised?

I don’t think I’ve met anyone who doesn’t like being recognised for doing a good job. Deep down inside aren’t we all still that 6 year old child who wants to know that we’re doing great, that our efforts haven’t gone un-noticed and that we are truly valued?

Not only is it lovely when we get the proverbial ‘pat on the back’ but the after effects are also something to aim for: that extra boost that gives us a spring in our step; the smile that creeps across our face; and the motivation to do more, go that extra mile and continue to try harder.

It’s also worth mentioning that praise doesn’t cost a penny. In fact if we’re talking strictly from a commercial viewpoint it is incredibly cost effective as not only is it a fantastic motivational tool it’s completely free.

Apart from the fact that it is free, and it motivates people to do a good job, and the fact that it feels fantastic to be on the receiving end of someone saying great things about you…why then is it under utilised and something that we often shy away from in our day to day activities?

When the subject of praise crops up there’s always the discussion around the fact that it has to be genuine, and that it can’t feel false or ‘just for the sake of it’.

Praise doesn’t have to be cliché or corny, and it certainly doesn’t have to come across as disingenuous. In fact it should be none of those things. For praise to really work the manager needs to recognise when it is warranted and deserved. When the person has done something that has made you smile, and where it is perfectly natural for you to recognise them. Praise should absolutely come from the heart but in the first instance you have to train yourself to start looking for the right opportunities, when often we are trained to look for people doing something wrong.

So if you think that praise is lacking in your team try out the following:

1.You don’t have to make a song and dance about it

Often people worry about embarrassing others with public displays of thanks, and then go the other way and just send it in an email. There doesn’t have to be a process for everything.  If you see someone doing something great – tell them. It’s as simple as that.

2. Say it from the heart and with authenticity

There is also the worry that if you say it all the time then it will be meaningless. When something is being said from the heart and with authenticity, people can see that and there’s no danger of it being seen as anything else.

 3. Don’t use it as another way of delegating

Yes, praise is great for motivating people, but shouldn’t be paired up with giving them another job today. “Well done with X, now can you do Y?”

4. Encourage others in the team to say well done

Once you’ve made it a habit for you, encourage others in your team to do the same. Praise doesn’t have to come from the top down. It’s a great way for team members to recognise each other’s efforts too.

 5. Make a deal with yourself to look for opportunities to praise

As with any new habit you have to make a real conscious effort to begin with. So, make a deal with yourself that every day you’ll look for opportunities to praise. No-one else needs to know this, and see how you get on.

I’d love to know what you think about praise. Let me know by leaving a comment, or join me on Facebook

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