One of our most significant aspirations is that people around us value our contributions at work, home and elsewhere. We desire that our supervisors, friends, or family members appreciate our good work; we are hungry for their compliments.
Praising and recognizing people around us are an essential skill that we need to develop to be effective. One of the many reasons we fail to recognize the positive contributions of people around us is that we may not feel comfortable praising others or we may not know how to recognize people. Here is a simple framework.
- Observe. Look for opportunities to recognize your peers, team members, friends, family members, bosses and other people you interact with everyday.
- Smile. A smile is a true indicator of your cheerfulness and passes your good feelings to the recipient.
- Right away. Praise as soon as you make your observation. Your message will be relevant, sincere and will have the most meaning only when delivered immediately following the recipient’s behavior.
- Be specific. Describe what the recipient did so that he/she understands the specific reason for your praise.
- Detail the impact. Tell the recipient how his/her action or behavior impacted you or your organization. Explain how his/her contributions are reflected positively upon him/her.
- ‘Thanks.’ Offering praise often involves just smiling and saying “Thank you. I appreciate your work.” This sends a message that you acknowledge the value of the work and want the recipient to repeat his/her behavior.
An example. “[Smile.] Hey Stella. When you presented our logistics proposal to our clients, I think you did an excellent job with the flow of arguments. Your illustrations clearly drove home the advantages of the new system. Our clients were very impressed with your leadership on this project. Our Divisional Vice-President who was in the meeting complemented you. Thank you for a job well done. Keep it up.”
Making people around us feel valued in a sincere manner goes a long way in improving our inter-personal relationships. In addition, observing, acknowledging and reinforcing good work motivates people around us.