Motivating With Criticism and Praise – Part 2

24 Dec

“Some criticism will be honest, some won’t. Some praise you will deserve, some you won’t. You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” John Wooden

Both criticism and praise, when used skillfully, can be powerful influencing tools and great motivators of employees. While both criticism and praise are evaluative and provide information, reliance solely on one over the other can be misleading and damaging to the individual receiving the information.

If you want to effectively praise someone in a way that is most meaningful, the easiest thing to do…is to simply ask.  One way to effectively approach this subject is to ask the person, “When putting money and promotions aside, how can I best let you know you’re valued by the organization?”

Most employees want to do a good job, and not because they expect any special reward or prize.  But while every employee may not work for a reward, per se, employees do want to know that their efforts are contributing something of value.  When managers ask their employees, “What can I do to let you know I value your contribution?” it’s not uncommon for them to learn that employees are truly satisfied with a simple “Thank you,” or “Well done!” along with a little feedback letting them know the results of their efforts.

Taking the time to find out how your employee wants to be praised or rewarded is as vital as finding out how they prefer to receive criticism.  In each case, you are operating in a two-way exchange to sort out how best to work together and communicate with one another. This process is known as building a matched relationship expectations package, which we will discuss next week.

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