I don’t have an exact count, but over the years of conducting training classes on Building Trust or speaking to large groups about trust and leadership, I’ve worked with thousands of employees around the globe from all sorts of organizations and industries.
Frequently I will ask people to respond to this question: “Raise your hand if you are sick and tired of all the praise you receive at work.” How do you think people respond?
No one ever raises their hand.
The truth is most people are starving for more recognition for their efforts and accomplishments. For whatever reason, whether it’s not understanding the importance of praise, being uncomfortable expressing appreciation, or having a twisted perception that praising people will cause them to lose their performance edge, many leaders simply don’t use one of the most powerful tools in their leadership toolbox.
Ken Blanchard has frequently said that if he could choose one thing that defined his legacy as a leadership expert, it would be the importance of “catching people doing something right.”
Why should you care about praising team members? Research, surveys, and studies have shown that praise:
- Contributes to higher levels of engagement
- Helps reduce turnover
- Improves morale
- Builds trust
- Improves manager/employee relationships
Unless delivered effectively, praise can be perceived as hollow or meaningless and actually work against improving employee relationships and performance. To fully leverage the power of praise, remember to:
- Praise genuine achievements, not routine efforts
- Be specific; don’t generalize
- Deliver it as close to the event as possible
- Link the praise to team or company values, goals, or strategies
- Be authentic and genuine; don’t be overly concerned with making it perfect
Giving praise doesn’t cost you anything, except for a little bit of time and effort. Yet it can be one of the most effective tools managers can use to improve employee performance and engagement at work. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.
More From Randy Conley
Randy Conley, Vice President of Client Services & Trust Practice Leader for The Ken Blanchard Companies, offers insights on leadership and trust on his blog, Leading with Trust. You can follow Randy on Twitter @RandyConley.