Praise versus Flattery

Recently I have been working with a client who has a hard time giving out compliments. He believes that when his employees do a good job – it is just that: their job. He has been reluctant to hand our ‘atta boys’ for what he considers their daily responsibilities. The feedback from his team was less than bullish on this approach. They need and want to hear when they are doing a good job; they want not only the feedback but also the encouragement that positive approbation provides.  Two thoughts:

1. The fact is appreciation has to be given often, authentically, specifically, and at the appropriate time – if we want to encourage that behavior.  By being specific, it will be authentic, as it is hard to ‘fake’ a specific compliment. Being real and sincere in your comments is the distinction between ’empty praise’ or flattery and authentic recognition of a job well done.

2.To those who say: ‘I don’t have to hear praise to do a good job, so why do I have to give it?’ Well, news flash: this isn’t about you. This is about them. We have to meet people where they are. I call this the platinum rule: we need to treat people the way we would want to be treated, if we were them. Their perspective will be different, nine times out of ten. We are all different – and one size does not fit all. So, put yourself in their moccasins – and meet them where they are.

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