In Praise of Praise

“Once in a century, a man may be ruined or made insufferable by praise.  But surely once in a minute something generous dies for want of it” John Masefield

How easily we could give praise and it costs nothing. Too often I hear from delegates, that at work, they are frequently told when something is wrong, but rarely hear when things are right. I read once that the ratio of praise to negative feedback should be 10:1.

If people are to perform to their potential, they need to know when they are doing well, what they are doing well, and not just how they could improve. Giving feedback on performance is a key leadership skill. Yet many leaders are uncomfortable evaluating performance. One of the benefits I have gained from being a member of Toastmasters Casterbridge Speakers is learning how to give a good evaluation.

Giving feedback can be a positive experience. It can relieve stress, improve interpersonal relationships and promote trust and respect for leaders. It can certainly increase confidence. Think about how it felt the last time you were praised. I received some lovely praise today by email from Val Pothecary, Business Link Adviser, for a talk I did for her on ‘Success Comes in Cans’. “I’ve just realised that I forgot to thank you for a really brilliant presentation to the Forum Club last week! Everyone was really impressed and I got very positive feedback – so thank you.  You just get better and better!” This made my day.

With apologies to the author of the original nursery rhyme ‘For want of a nail’, here is my version:

For want of a thank you

A smile was lost.

For want of a smile, morale was lost.

For want of morale, good staff were lost.

For want of the staff, a customer was lost.

For want of a customer, business was lost.

For want of the business, a company was lost;

And all for the want of a genuine thank you.

I feel we should never under estimate the power of appreciation.

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