If you’re like me, you love to receive a pat on the back. In my case, it probably goes back to the sense of accomplishment I felt as a child whenever I received a gold star or a good grade.
Praise is important in business and in life, and praising in a meaningful way can result in a sense of accomplishment for the individual you are praising, and untold benefits to you as well.
Five Ways to Offer Meaningful Praise
- Praise ongoing efforts rather than just one-time results. It is logical to praise an exceptional effort, but remember also to praise people for things they do well all the time. “You haven’t missed a day of school all year.” Or “I can’t remember you missing a deadline since your promotion to project manager. It’s so great to be able to count on you week in and week out.”
- Give specific rather than vague praise. Rather than saying, “Your room looks great.” How about, “I love the way you’ve put all your trucks and trains on the shelf.” And, replace than the vague, “Great job, Jane.” with “I know that was a tough deal to close. Congrats for bringing it in.”
- Match the praise with the effort. Don’t fawn all over someone for completing a small task, when a “Looks great.” will suffice. And don’t come up short on praise when someone’s been working for months to successfully complete an effort.
- Praise others in their presence. This works especially well for children. Let them “overhear” you praising them in their presence. “I can’t remember ever having perfect attendance at school, but Jem was able to pull that off this year. Isn’t that cool?”
- Praise the less obvious. It’s easy to praise the obvious (a great mark on an exam, great feedback from a customer) but when you praise something that you’ve never praised before (putting away the folded laundry, rearranging an office) you show that you’re really paying attention and that the actions of that person are important.