Reprimanding? It’s easier than praising

di AM il 18 gennaio, 2014


Changing people’s behaviour is an art.

As we already know, the reprimand is used to change an undesired behaviour.

And as a loyal reader of my blog, you are undoubtedly familiar with both the constructive reprimand and the destructive reprimand.

But what do you do when you want to reinforce a behaviour you fully approve of?

I know, of course your staff is mostly incompetent and there’s not much to praise.

However, a miracle sometimes happens, mysteriously, and you find yourself praising spontaneously.

How do you handle it? The most widely used technique is that of the panegyric: let’s take a look at it in detail.

When to praise

  • Immediately after observing the behaviour you wish to encourage, on the emotional spur of the moment.


  • Much better in public, so that everybody can see what a genius you’ve managed to pull on board.


  • 15-20 minutes should be enough, because the tension inside you has gone now and you can completely “let go”.
  • You may absolutely indulge in emphasizing his personal qualities: he’ll soon believe he’s a genius and start losing touch with his realistic side.


  • Be prepared – but you already know, don’t you? – for the request of a salary raise or some other privilege: sooner or later it’ll come, it’s inevitable.
  • The next time you have to reprimand him – and sooner or later that day will come – you’ll find it very hard, so much harder.
  • After all, why would you want to reprimand someone as good as him?

In other words, praising is more difficult than reprimanding. And more dangerous.

Because if the destructive reprimand is something individuals get over in time – and a reprimand is no big drama, after all, who hasn’t gotten used to it? – restoring self-awareness may be hard to do, and takes a long time.

So, what’s best?

Do you know any techniques for praising without causing any damage?

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