Recognition and Praise Requires 3 Essential Ingredients

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Recognition and praise is best when you take the time to notice and then tell a person when they are doing things right. But that takes time and energy! Unfortunately, that is something too few managers believe is a good use of their time and energy.

But the 3 most critical elements of recognition and praise are - make it TRUE, SPECIFIC, and PERSONAL.

Recognition and Praise Requires 3 Essential Ingredients

Make Recognition and Praise TRUE

The first ingredient is make sure that it is true. Recognition and praise is improperly used to manipulate people. That approach is obviously wrong.

So, how do you use it?

If you are trying to get the person to do something for you, that is not recognition and praise! But, if you want to help them grow and develop, that is good recognition and praise type of thinking. It is an excellent action that show you value people enough to develop them.

Superior leaders do not give indiscriminate, happy words to the people they work with. That is a waste of your energy and their time, because people will see it for what it is, now or eventually. It is a form of manipulation and flattery which is just another word for lying.

So, focus on what is right instead of only those things that are wrong. Focus on truth and reality. Search for things they do correctly and tell them how good that is!

Obviously, make sure it is TRUE!


Specific is the second ingredient of recognition and praise. Go beyond, “You did a great job.” Instead, make it specific like, “You did a great job with that customer. When he came into the store, he was obviously mad. It was great the way you stayed calm and gave him what he needed. Great job! Well done!”

Those specifics make the difference between recognition and praise, or just nice words. The specifics reinforce your coaching for right behavior and what a great job looks like. And remember, repetition is critical for helping people take action. When you look for the things they do well, they get a chance to learn how important it is - maybe for the first time!

Take the time to create a different structure, one that provides specific encouragement, genuine appreciation, and developmental input to make a work place worth coming to.

Finally, Make It PERSONAL

This part of recognition and praise helps you relate to them as a person not another asset. In order to do this well, get to know the people you work with. Some people do not like public praise, others love it. Some read notes, cards, and letters and save them, while others prefer face to face communication. And, you may lead people who want everything to be about business, no private life talk at work, while others display the private life with pictures in their work space.

Look for clues, get to know who they are and what they appreciate the most. You will find that people have their specific likes and preferences based on their DNA and development.

Please, take time to look for what people are doing RIGHT! When you see it provide recognition and praise that is TRUE, SPECIFIC, and PERSONAL. Check out our Coaching Excellence course to get more great information like this.


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