Building Connection with Praise

We all want to be acknowledged, yet it is often that our hard work goes without recognition.  So today, I want to share with you how to build connections with coworkers by using praise.  And while this content is for everyone, I specifically want to talk to Supervisors and Managers.  The people who are responsible for employees at work.

Why?  Because not everyone got the “how to be a good manager” handbook.  Because not everyone had a good mentor to show them the ropes on employee management.  Because building connection with praise is easy and can make ALL the difference in people management roles.  And doing it wrong can actually to the opposite of what you’re intending to do by giving praise in the first place.

How to Praise Your Employees

For Supervisors and Managers, it is important to not only give praise to your team members but also do it in a way that the employee enjoys (hint: not everyone loves public recognition). Making sure that your employees feel appreciated and valued is key in keeping them.  Studies have shown that employees will stay in a job for the leaders. So, if you are valuing and appreciating your team as a leader, they will feel valued and are more likely to go above and beyond for you.  So, make sure that you are giving meaningful praise (specific feedback on what the employee has done well) and that you’re doing it in a way that resonates with them.


Mistakes to Avoid:

In Jeff Haden’s article on, The 9 Elements of Highly Effective Employee Praise , he provided a thought-provoking discussion on how YOU remember your previous bosses.  Both the bosses you remember as outstanding and the ones that weren’t so great.  He then ties how you remember these bosses to how they gave you praise.  My favorite mention in the article was the boss who every Thursday at 1pm would walk around the plant and give random praise to the team.  People are smart and start to see this pattern and then the very act of giving praise loses it’s value.

Make sure that you are not doing this to “check it off your list” and that you are providing real, valuable feedback when giving praise.   In addition, appreciate people in the way that they like to be appreciated.  Remember that not everyone loves the spotlight.  By publicly praising a team member who does not love the spotlight, you can actually do more damage than good.


Start Today!

It’s never too late to start giving praise.  Start today.  If you aren’t aware of how your employees like to receive acknowledgements, check in with them.  This is easy to do when you have your regular 1:1 check-in (and I hope that you are doing this!).  Ask each employee how they like to receive praise and make a note of  what you learn about each person.  This will help you to reward and acknowledge each team member in the way that lifts them up, engages them and gets them behind you in your mission to lead the team.  You will find by doing this that your employees will be more engaged and will go the extra mile for you as a leader.