William Shakespeare had remarked that “Our praises are our wages”. We are all emotional beings. Every individual needs recognition and appreciation for doing good work. When people feel respected and valued, they deliver great performance. Research says that emotional state of the individual is linked to the quality of the work. When we praise an individual then brain secretes hormones such as serotonin and oxytocin these chemical substance works as good feel factors which in turn helps an individual in improving the quality of work. Therefore, recognize people contribution by praise.
Mark Twain commented that “I can live for two months on a good compliment”. Praising people costs nothing but does everything. So let’s see below six steps to P-R-A-I-S-E people for great performance.
First step to praise your people is to catch them doing things right and while you praise, you need to be very specific you need to pinpoint their right behaviors, efforts, actions, results delivered, in specific situation or incident, or about productivity for instance instead of saying you have done great job or you have done great presentation, or you are good at customer relationship, you are good at negotiation, you are great worker etc. you can be more precise, specific and pinpoint. For example, you can say you have closed 98% of customer issues in first contact ,you made effective use of Gantt and PERT charts in your presentation, you can say you have maintained 100% accuracy under tight deadlines, without instructions you have negotiated lower rates with important vendors ,you come to work 15 minutes early each day. When you pinpoint actions and behaviors then employee sees that specific behaviors are being noticed and appreciated.
Second step to praise your people is to recognize their contribution, When you observe productive behaviors of your team member, recognize their efforts and behaviors in particular. For instance, you can say your negotiated agreements that resulted in 2 new projects for company. Your contributed workplace improvement ideas that saved the department $5000, You never raise your voice no matter what the circumstances, you always respond to provocations with calm and grace. When employee receives this sort of recognition for his/her work from the manager, then your team member becomes more committed and highly engaged. It is the responsibility of the manage to monitor the performance and behaviors of the team and recognize the good work, offer appreciation and feedback regularly to perform better every day.
Third step to praise your people is to appreciate and acknowledge good quality of team member, be grateful for their efforts and actions. Thank your employees when they do good work whether it’s one-on-one in person, during the town hall meeting, in a group meeting, on voicemail, in a written thank-you note, on email or at the end of each day at work.
Prof Jeffrey Pfeiffer of Stanford university commented: “creating a fun, challenging, and empowered work environment in which individuals are able to use their abilities to do meaningful jobs for which they are shown appreciation is likely to be a more certain way to enhance motivation and performance – even through creating such an environment may be difficult and take more time than simply turning the reward lever. Similarly, H. Jackson Brown Jr. said “Don't forget, a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.” Appreciation provides happiness, job satisfaction, increases engagement and decreases attrition
Fourth step is to praise your people immediately when you Catch them doing things right. If you noticed your team member has done any good work no matter whether it is small or big task immediately praise them. One should not hesitate or delay or miss the opportunity to appreciate. The impact immediate appreciation will be huge on the team member on other hand if you delay it will lose the importance and value. So leader should not wait till monthly meeting or midyear review or yearend review to offer praise, the more timey is it the more relevant it becomes. So don’t wait for the perfect moment whenever you observe right behaviors or actions immediately praise them and this can improve the performance of employees
Fifth step is to praise your people sincerely. When you observed any positive productive behaviors of your team members praise him or her immediately and sincerely. Sincerity is the quality of being open and truthful. If you praise people with sincerely, seriously and genuinely your people will believe you. Being sincere and honest helps your team members trust in you and helps you to build a strong relationship. Your people can make out if you just praise them just for heck of it. So You need to be very sincere and genuine in your praise otherwise it will be counter effective
Last step is to encourage your team member every time, give them support, courage and hope. Help them to realize their aspiration to accomplish their goals and dreams. Encourage your team to take more challenging responsibilities, encourage and support them in preparation and implementation of personal development plans, encourage them to broaden their knowledge and experience. Make their life easy and help them to develop life skills and competencies. Always encourage your team members even when things are not going well. As there is a saying “A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” Praise and encourage are very important to improve the performance as rightly remarked by Jerome Fleishman, “Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement – and we will make the goal”. So encouragement is very essential to bring out best performance
Summary of P-R-A-I-S-E
In nut-shell to praise people first catch them doing right things and pinpoint their productive behaviors, recognize their contributions, appreciate and acknowledge their efforts and results immediately without any delay and sincerely praise the good work and at last encourage them by providing with the right opportunity for learning and development, encourage people to take more responsibility, encouraging and supporting them preparation and implementation of career development plans and broadening their knowledge and experience . Even non-financial recognition has greater impact on people for long term by praising and valuing employees you will witness superior performance and excellent results. Oprah Winfrey rightly said “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate”.