I just read, “Is Praising Employees Counterproductive?” by Liz Ryan in Business Week where she talked about the potential to overpraise employees. In the article, Ryan discusses managers’ fears that overpraising will lead to employee demands for more money and that complacency will become the norm.
Give me a break! The biggest issue with most managers has always been their inability to give ample praise. We’re all human beings and we need to be told that we’re doing a great job and that we’re a valuable asset to the company (if indeed we are).
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Boost morale by praising employees.
- Praise often. It’s almost impossible to overpraise. Give kudos to employees for a job well done, no matter how big or how small. Employees go to work for a person, not a company and many employees look to please their managers as if they are a parental figure. So don’t let them down.
- Praise sincerely. I can’t tell you how many times managers said “good job” to me. Whatever. They were praising because they were told they needed to praise. Give honest praise every time and give an example of what the employee did right. “Great job on the Dalton project Sally. You’re research was so thorough that they knew we were the right partner for them because we understood their business better than any of our competitors.” See how much better that is than “good job”?
As for Ryan’s assertion that “it’s tempting to focus on what needs improving…but it isn’t good management” is simply wrong. If you balance praise with constructive criticism in areas where the employee can improve, you’ll have employees who will work smarter and reach higher than ever before.
Got a tip for how to praise employees?