How often have you heard that?
The truth is that supervisors tend to refrain from praising, for two reasons.
The first is that praising is complicated and can be damaging: better hold back. No action, no mistakes, right?
The second reason is that for many managers their staff are invisible: they don’t notice the people or their actions.
What suggestions can we offer to those few willing managers who have discovered the magical power of praise but still don’t feel confident about how best to use it?
Here are the golden rules of constructive praise.
- Immediately after observing the behaviour you wish to encourage
- After thorough preparation
- Better in private, ideally not in public
- Talk about the practice you want to promote, separating it from any appraisal of the person
- Express praise clearly and briefly, focusing on the behaviour you intend to encourage
- No longer than 120 seconds
- Wait for a reply or comment
- Round off by confirming your faith in the person
- Do not use “emphatic” words, and the staff member must neither feel a genius nor irreplaceable
- Use a level tone of voice
- Never repeat the same concept twice
To cut a long story short, if one of your staff does something well, you can acknowledge their value only by saying:
Hey, you’ve done a good job!
It is not risky, it is not expensive, and it produces impressive results: try it, and you’ll see.