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Reprimanding? It’s easier than praising

2019 September 04 | by Arduino Mancini Reprimand Praise feedback

Changing people’s behaviour is an art.

As we already know, the reprimand is used to change 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 wholeheartedly approve?

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 indulge in emphasising his personal qualities: he’ll soon believe he’s a genius and start losing touch with his practical 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, praise is more complicated than a reprimand. And more dangerous.

Why? If the destructive reprimand is something individuals get over in time, 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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