Praise Often

Another strategy in the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson is to build teams through One Minute Praisings.

The idea is simple. Be alert to the efforts and work going on around you. As you notice good things happening, say so. The authors call it “catching someone doing something right.”

As I have visited with the many people who have read the book, most of them have a confession: “I don’t praise as much as I should.”

When asked why it is so, you get a lot of different answers:

“I don’t want them to think I am just blowing smoke.”

“If I praise them too much, they might let up on their efforts.”

Some cynical ones can say: “We pay them to do a good job. I reserve praise for the exceptional things.”

I have a variety of thoughts regarding the obstacles:

  1. “If you aren’t blowing smoke, you won’t be thought to be blowing smoke.” The authors advise us to be specific when we praise. Notice the specific behavior and comment on it. Being specific makes the praise more authentic. It’s not blowing smoke.
  1. I believe authentic praise is never out of season. The fear of praising someone into a “demotivated state” doesn’t stand the test. One of our colleagues sent me a quote yesterday that underscores this: “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected.”I’ve found that to be true. Authentic praise frequently delivered inspires connection. You can’t lose by ramping up your frequency of praises.
  1. If you hold a reserve on praising others, you will get fewer of the activities that you find worthy to praise. If you believe national statistics, most companies have 3 out of 4 employees who don’t care much about the job. They do as much as necessary and as little as possible. Is that because we have leaders who don’t work hard at expressing praise and appreciation? My thinking is that ramping up praises will build up the commitment level of everyone. Committed folks do what it takes to win in the market place. They go the extra mile.

We have challenged every leader to model good praising. We are asking simply to become more alert, notice the good work that is going on around you and say so when you see it. I think we will win as a result.

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PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace
PalletOne Inc.
Company President, Howe Q. Wallace

Since 2005, he has been sharing his thoughts on the organization, leadership, and communication in an online daily note to teammates called Daily with HQ.


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