Praise is like a powerful chemical catalyst. When you add praise to your workplace in the right way, both performance and morale improve. The basic rule is that you praise what you want more of.
Once, a supervisor described his job to me this way: “They know when they do a good job. It’s my job to tell them when they don’t.” There are an awful lot of bosses who subscribe to that theory of leadership. Don’t you be one of them.
Use praise to keep good things going. You want achievement to keep going, right? Then praise it.
Don’t wait, though. Don’t save up your praise for an annual or semiannual performance review. Don’t save it for a quiet chat in the privacy of your office. Praise soon and praise publicly.
You want people to reach their goal. They might not get there all at once.. So, praise progress.
When a baby learns to walk, we don’t wait to praise the little fellow until he can go to the store for a six pack. We also don’t expect every little kid to become a world-class sprinter. We just want them to become as good as they can be. So, we praise progress. That’s not all.
Effort is the engine of progress. But sometimes, especially early on, it takes a lot of effort to make a little bit of progress. That’s when you praise effort. You want to praise the goal at the end of the process. So, you praise progress to keep it going. And you want the progress to continue, so you praise effort.
Praise is a powerful catalyst.
Praise what you want to continue.
It’s hard to praise too much.