Praise - A True Motivator

There is a great deal of research that says that praising employees is a great motivational tool. Yet, so few managers seem to be comfortable with telling employees they’ve done something right or made a major contribution to the success of the organization. We know that managers who praise are more likely to see better results. Employees like to be seen doing the right thing and offering timely and specific praise is a powerful motivator.

In the April 2014 issue of Workforce Magazine, the authors tell a story of the former president of Southwest Airlines, Colleen Barrett. Employees knew she wanted them to succeed and she showed them in many ways including writing thousands of handwritten notes to employees each year!

Ken Blanchard, Vicki Stanford and David Witt of The Blanchard Cos. have a simple formula (TRUE) to help managers praise employees.
· Timely—praise should be immediate and specific
· Responsive—praise should be given individually the way that person wants to receive it (some people like to be praised in private while others want public praise)
· Unconditional—no strings attached!
· Enthusiastic—sincere and heart-felt words

Good managers are constantly looking for ways to offer praise to their good employees. From personal experience I know that it doesn’t work to wait until the holidays to say thanks. I once worked for a manager who terrorized the office on a daily basis and then, once a year just before the holiday party would sit in the lobby for an hour and shake hands with people as they passed through and said “thanks for a great year!” People found ways to avoid the lobby just because the thanks seemed so forced and dishonest.

I love the idea of having praise be part of your organizational culture! Can you imagine how it would feel on your first day at a new job to be told that we look for people doing their jobs well and going “above and beyond” what is required and when we see it, we let them know! And, encourage your employees to praise each other—praise can be contagious!

Praise doesn’t cost a dime and has the power to drive employees to great success—which drives the organization’s profits or membership or whatever you use to measure success.
Who will you praise today? Make sure it is timely, responsive, unconditional and enthusiastic!

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