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Effective Leaders Offer Praise and Recognition - Column #167

Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub

Business leaders focused on moving their companies to ever higher levels of efficiency, effectiveness, profitability and success constantly look for ways to improve their business models. This requires an awareness of what is — and isn’t — working in daily operations.

There’s a potential pitfall here if leaders fixate only on what’s wrong.  While this approach might create some improvements and short–term results, over time it will damage other vital aspects of the business. Given their singular focus and accompanying astigmatism, these leaders will likely fail to see all that’s accomplished, the solid effort put forth by team members and how far the business has actually progressed.

These same leaders will squash the morale of their team members with an abundance of criticism and lack of praise. In turn, team members will grow less excited about being a part of and furthering the company’s mission, and top performers will likely move on. This will reduce efficiency and effectiveness and the very profitability and success that were sought in the first place.

Conversely, when leaders offer well-deserved praise and recognition to team members while also working to continually enhance how the company operates, a solid culture is built and the benefits ripple throughout the business.

Why? Because when people feel good — even great  — about the positive steps they’re making and the work they’re doing, they’re encouraged to stay the course. Just consider how great it feels and how motivating it is when you receive praise and recognition for your hard work.

Most people thrive on praise and enjoy recognition. When a person is praised for a job well done, they feel good, valued and inspired to keep up the good work. They light up and become excited. This is apparent in their body language. When this happens repeatedly, they grow more self-confident, take on challenges with greater initiative and passion and become more adept at what they’re doing. In other words, they’re motivated in a positive way to learn, grow and become more.

On the other hand, when a person truly gives their best and is met with only criticism in the form of what they did wrong and what they should have done better, they feel defeated, inadequate and undervalued. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a situation like this, you know how unpleasant the experience can be.

If this situation occurs repeatedly, this negative conditioning leads to a diminished self-confidence, negative self-perception, resentment, disengagement, lower performance and turnover.

The desire to feel good about ourselves and the efforts we put forth is a very real human need. Good leaders understand this and change their perspectives and behaviors to consistently offer the praise and recognition team members appreciate and require to continue advancing. Positive reinforcement constitutes a far more effective leadership strategy than negative conditioning.

As I coach leaders how to lead from a position of composure and with a balanced perspective, they work with their teams in new, dynamic and more effective ways. This allows them to build empowered teams that produce the very results they want to achieve.

In your unending pursuit of success and a finely tuned business, don’t forget to consistently provide the well-deserved praise and recognition your team members need to learn, grow and become top performers in your business.

When the team members in any business are supported in constructive ways, both in a job well-done and in those areas that are in the process of improvement, they’ll perform at higher levels simply because they feel valued and encouraged in their efforts to be their best. When you give others what they want, they’re more likely to give you what you want. In the end, everyone is happier.

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