DR. E. CAROL WEBSTER’S
PRAISE PROPELS PERFORMANCE
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2009
Hold onto your high performers by applauding them for their good work. Praise helps to enhance productivity while encouraging loyalty and deepened commitment. Your younger workers in particular seek praise to drive performance, being accustomed to receiving strokes for “simply being me”, and will bounce around from job to job if required to go without recognition for too long. This costs you money. While your older employees may be less needy, they feel more secure when they know what specific accomplishments you value. This helps them replicate their success with confidence, and rewards you with laudable results. So make time to give strokes that stoke morale and high achievement.
Accept the Power of Praise
Many managers balk at the need to praise their employees because they are self-motivators and don’t understand why others aren’t. Many have been raised in loving homes but without much open show of attention or affection. Their most significant achievements and accomplishments come and go without much fuss by others, so it doesn’t occur to them to make a fuss either. If this describes you, you may find it hard to be attentive to your staff but, with a little effort, you can learn how to do this. View it as a necessary work skill, as a strengthening of your emotional intelligence and acumen as a manager, not just as dishing out “fluff” to your employees.
Don’t Say What You Don’t Mean
Your praise must be genuine, so don’t offer empty compliments or reward performance that is not really noteworthy. While many of your younger employees grew up receiving prizes and awards given to everyone as a means of building self-esteem, at some level even they realize that this was not helpful and prevents them from effectively determining when they really are doing something extraordinary. Don’t lump everyone in unless you’re rewarding team performance. And help others value your praise by making your comments timely. Note exceptional performance when you observe it and only offer compliments that you sincerely mean.
Make Your Praise Public
While it’s fine to praise in private, public praise packs more punch. But give some thought to the best forum for the staff you are praising. Your older workers may prefer more formal, “traditional” means of being acknowledged, while those who are younger may enjoy more spontaneity and fanfare. Just about everyone likes to see their name in print, so use your organization’s communications tools generously by acknowledging those who excel. And it takes no time to praise employees in staff meetings and lunch gatherings. Unlike reprimands and scoldings which should be done in private and often constitute bullying when done publicly, giving praise in public forums allows your employees to bask in the limelight and can generate great reassurance and re-charged enthusiasm about the job.
Praise is a powerful motivator and reinforcer of high achievement. Use it generously, but be specific about the behavior you are praising and be sincere about it. Praise pumps egos – but also bottom lines, so view it as an essential element of your management toolbox.
About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at http://drcarolwebster.com or call 954.797.9766.
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317
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