The best way to praise somebody is to recognize his/her effort and to communicate respect and understanding.
Many people think that praise consolidates trust. Yet, this can lead to tension and inappropriate behaviors.
Sometimes, when we do not really integrate the praise, we are tempted, without being aware, to prove who we really are. Parents often say that, immediately after children are praised, these behave strangely as if they want to show the contrary. It is also common for a child praised for his/her cleverness and talent to avoid more difficult tasks lest he/she should risk his image.
It is embarrassing for someone to be told what a gifted, generous, hard worker and modest could be.
Often the person is immediately obligated to deny publically or even for herself/himself. He/she cannot, honestly, sustain all these things.
It also could happen that the praise can generate hidden thoughts about the praise giver: if he says this, he might be telling lies / having an interest / be a little stupid … or it could lead to he/she feels superior to me if he is padding on my shoulder with such things.
The praise has two parts: what we are telling the people and what they are saying to themselves.
Usually we praise our children because we want them to have a better image about themselves. How does it happen that when we are telling our daughter “How pretty you are!” she denies this and when we are telling our boy “How clever you can be!” he seems embarrassed and steps back?
Most of the people do not react at praising words focused on their personality, physical or mental attributes. Generally, people do not like to be assessed.
The best praise consists in recognizing the effort and communication of respect and understanding. It should refer to efforts and achievements; it should never hint character and personality.
Being wrongly praised leads children to dependency and fragility, while praising them correctly could make them stronger.
Exactly the same way, adults, if they are given the proper feedback, can become more responsible wanting to be engaged in more and more difficult tasks. What is the proper feedback in job?
Today most of the managers reward genial ideas, special performance and are in a hurry to assess their employees as talents. Specialists recommend praising our people more for “showing their pro-active spirit, for ending up a difficult task, because they strive and learn new things, because they have not gone down when they have failed or they have shown openness and have taken measures to criticism. And even more, praise them because they do not pretend to be praised every day.” – Carol Dweck, “Mindset. The New Psychology of Success”
I don’t know how often you have heard such praises in your companies; I must admit that I have seldom heard them.
How important it could be for us to understand that only by supporting our people growing mindset and mental development we can assure the leaders we like to speak about.
All To Know recommends the following workshops on this topic:
- How to Grow People
- Coaching for Performance
- Mindset & Grit
- How to Lead Effective Assessment Meetings
- How to Give Proper Feedback