One aspect of leadership is appreciating the people one leads. I must admit, this has to be a discipline for me, because I’m not naturally wired for this. I can be guilty of expecting too much from people. When someone does the extraordinary work it comes easier for me to praise them, but I don’t always feel the need to acknowledge the normal work people do – especially when they are being paid to do it.
I realize, however, that all of us, including me, enjoy hearing we did a good job. Some people are even fueled by it. So, offering praise is a necessary part of a leader’s responsibility. We should all do it whether we are wired to or not.
And, when we do, there are certain things which can help us.
Here are 7 suggestions when a leader offers praise:
Tell the person what he or she did well in specific rather than general terms. Make sure they know what they did or are doing well.
Make it genuine. False praise or praise offered only for person gain is seldom appreciated.
Some of us have to discipline to praise. That’s okay. It’s worth it. Don’t assume someone else will do it or that the person receives enough praise. (I try to intentionally praise at least 2 or 3 people per week among staff and volunteers.)
People shouldn’t wait long after a job done well to receive praise for it.
Find unique ways to offer praise. Send a handwritten note. Not many do it anymore. Give an extra day off. Recognize them in front of others. And, of course, don’t forget the personal, face-to-face approach.
Don’t say the same thing everyone else is saying or the same thing to every person. Find the thing or aspect to praise that no one else has noted.
Offer praise which helps the person recognize strengths and encourages them in that area.
It does take intentionality to be an appreciative leader. Our staff would probably tell you I have much work to do. I would have to agree with them. But, I do recognize the value and keep striving to improve.