Communicating Praise that Makes an Impact

Pamela Jett 12-17

Giving praise is one of the most positive forms of communication.   However, if all we say is “thanks” or “good job”, we miss an opportunity to get make a real impact.  Well delivered praise  rewards and increases the likelihood that people will continue the praiseworthy behavior.  Here is a simple process to give praise that is meaningful and effective every time.  (BTW, I sure wish I could remember where I learned this system – I would love to give credit where credit is due.)

1.  Use names – people like to hear their name associated with the positive.  Research also reveals that every time we hear our name, we get a tiny endorphin rush (the happy hormones.)

2.  Praise immediately – psychologically, your praise will make a bigger impact if it is delivered as close to the praseworthy act as possible.  Leaders, don’t hold on to all the good stuff for performance reviews.  You can double-dip.  If it is fantastic, praise immedaitely and share during a review.

3.  Be specific – don’t simply say “good job.”  Make it clear what you are praising.  That way, people will know what to keep doing.

4.  Point out the impact – this is HUGE!  Of all the steps, this is the most neglected and the most important.  Telling people why what they did matters (pointing out the impact) creates better employee engagement, a greater sense of commitment, and greatly increases that likelihood that the praise will be remembered (and acted upon in the future)

5.  Ask for a repeat – simple and effective.

Susan, you did a great job organizing the data in this report.  Well organized data is what really makes a difference during the monthly review. Keep up the good work.

Following this pattern for giving praise (it also works as a guide for writing thank you notes as well) will increase the likeliehood that your praise will be received as sincere.  Leaders (and parents) who use this system increase commitment and engagement while empowering employees (and teens).


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