Praising is an art.
It is a very powerful performance management and culture building tool. However, to be effective and impactful, it needs to say more than “good work.” In this article, we are going to talk a bit about how to praise right.
1.Do strategic praise
Praise should always be given in response to a coworker’s behavior or outcome that is aligned to what's important for the company. That is, its culture, its values, its objectives, and its strategy.
Naturally, the recognition of these behaviors starts to produce incentives for others to act accordingly, thus strengthening its strategy, and fostering its critical behaviors.
That's why Tags exist. We encourage you to use them when praising to clearly demonstrate their relationship with culture, values and goals. In our platform, we do it as you can see below:
2. Be specific
Another best practice is to very specific about the behavior that is being praised. For example, to praise “the way you handled that furious client on the phone yesterday, so calmly and kindly, even though he was ‘wrong” is much better than praising “the way you handle clients on the phone.”
A great way to be specific is to address an objective behavior that was observed. As you might have noticed, the first praise mentioned one specific behavior that happened in the past ("the way you handlED… yesterday"), whereas the second praise was generic ("the way you handlE").
The more specific the praise, the easier for your listener to identify exactly what he or she is doing correctly, and keep doing it.
Nonetheless, the list of benefits that being specific goes further: if praise messages are public - in our platform, they can be seen by everybody on the Praise Feed - they become much more educative for all its readers, making it easier for them to learn from them.
Be specific, and increase the impact of your praise not just for the praised, but for everyone.
And it matters because…
Last, but not least, it's very important to highlight why the behavior being praised is important for the organization. A great rule of thumb is to add "and it matters a lot to our organization because…." That way, you can tie your praise to the greater group's goals and values.
“...and it is very important because it strengthens our reputation for excellent services to our customers, which improves retention and growth"
“...and this kind of behavior is important for putting our values into practice. They are essential to our innovation and market leadership goals”.