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On praise and jerks

Posted by Meg Bear on September 30, 2009


943692760_1183917842 It’s an age old problem.  How do you recognize someone without risking forgetting others?  And what about that complete jerk who seems to always do things to make those above him (or her) happy at the expense of everyone else.

I’ve come to learn that the approach people take with this depends a lot on their personal bias toward praise.  If you have a strong personal bias to praise (or dare I say a culture of thanks) you probably want to err on the side of inclusion and define those who are entitled to praise very broadly.

If you are uncomfortable receiving praise you might be inclined to limit the praise you give, saving it for those who have done the truly extraordinary.

In my experience, limiting praise is a way more dangerous strategy.  It introduces the opportunity for jealousy and bad feelings from the team.

Having a strategy for praise is important as is understanding the connection between recognition and performance. The key is to make sure it’s authentic and earned.

Finally, for those of you who are afraid that praise will lead to entitlement, here is a great article that suggests you are wrong.

Give praise for your teams when they get it right, and you will be amazed what they can accomplish.  Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done.

One Response to “On praise and jerks”

  1. Melissa said

    Making sure the praise is earned is an important point that you make. Giving praise just to seem like a kind boss doesn’t do anyone any favors. By the same token, recognition that is warranted doesn’t have to go overboard. Saying “thank you” or “I appreciate your efforts” goes a long way.

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