Praise is a powerful tool

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As a leader of a group of employees, why should you have to praise them? After all they get paid to be at work, isn't that enough motivation? Can a thank you, or well done, really make that much difference?

The simple answer is yes, it can make that much difference.

But why?

Praise shows you notice your colleague's efforts. It can spur them on when tricky things start getting in the way, and it might just give them the encouragement they need to progress to the next level of work.

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What works best if you want more from your people, whether it be more productivity, quicker deadlines, or taking more responsibility? Should you beat it into them, offer them bonuses, or create office challenges pitting team members against each other, so that the ‘winner' receives a prize?

Will that work?

The answer is maybe. In the short term, any one of those strategies may work for some of your people. But beating it into them isn't politically correct and could land you in a heap of trouble! Then, some people are motivated by money or bonuses, but not everyone. Also, the targets for bonuses might not be challenging enough, or might be too challenging and beyond reach. Other people love competition! But for those that don't, competition may create a culture which is destructive, and you may then lose staff.  Ultimately these strategies all have a cost. They have a monetary cost in themselves, or through a lack of productivity because staff aren't motivated, or they cost in staff turnover.

Have you ever wondered how much it costs when you lose one employee, and replace them? It can cost between 3-6 months' salary to get a new person up and running. That's money on recruiting, training and loss of productivity. Can your business afford to lose people?

So, is there a better way?

Yes! Try using a little praise - acknowledging work done and encouraging people in the things they are doing. You'll be amazed at the results.

Praise generally makes people feel good. It makes them feel their work was appreciated and noticed. It is motivating, making people want to do that behaviour again, and to do it even better next time. It makes people feel happy, inspired to do more and gives them energy.

Praise contributes to building trusting and supportive relationships. It can increase commitment and performance by reducing disruptive behaviour/conflict. Using praise within the workplace creates an overall more positive environment. Encouragement is empowering!

Three things to watch out for:

It must be genuine and meaningful
It must be specific - acknowledging the specific thing the person has done that you appreciate
It must be PURE - no "but"s! Adding a criticism on to the end negates the praise, as people always tend to focus on the negative things.
Different people respond to praise in different ways. If you've done DiSC, you will be familiar with the four different styles, their priorities, motivators, and stressors, and you will be aware that we are all a blend of all the styles. You can use this knowledge to enhance how you use praise to get even better results.

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People with ‘D' tendencies will appreciate praise that is directed at the results they have achieved; the praise should be quick with no fuss. Many of them will say they don't need praise, but it's amazing how they respond when they do get it.

People with 'i', love to be praised and really feed from it. It should be delivered with passion and enthusiasm, but always genuine. ‘I's grow from praise and acknowledgement from others.

People who have ‘S' tendencies, appreciate gentle appreciation, but may shy away from public praise unless it is aimed at the team, and people with ‘C' tendencies appreciate praise for the accuracy and quality of their work.

So, give praise a go. After all, what have you got to lose! And, it's free, your accountant will love it!

Thank you for reading this newsletter. We'd love to hear your stories of the difference that acknowledging your people makes in your business.

If you want to learn more about how to motivate your people, people's different styles of communication and behaviour, and how to get better results with your people, contact us today! We are your people and leadership experts, passionate about empowering people, leaders, and teams, so you can reap the results.

Have a great day!
Cathy and Lisa

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To build your team or leadership skills further, contact Cathy or Lisa at BSI People Skills today