One of the most powerful things you can do as a leader is praise the performance of your direct reports. This is an essential step in any leaders leadership system. After helping a direct report establish their goals (yesterdays post) continue to communicate regularly with them about those goals so you can give them positive feedback. Ken Blanchard in his book The One Minute Manager calls this One Minute Praisings.
I think most leaders misunderstand the purpose of praisings. The goal of a praising is not just to be nice. The goal is to help your direct report understand and develop their strengths. The behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated, so make sure you’re praising the positive behaviors you want to see more of. This will not only help the individual gain confidence but will encourage them to use their strengths on a regular basis which increases their effectiveness and engagement in your organization. Giving positive feedback that emphasizes an individual’s strengths breathes life into them, you will see their face light up and their motivation soar. People want to know that what they’re doing makes a difference.
Instead of focusing on what people are doing wrong, try to catch people doing something right. Look for how they’re using their strengths. Then when you give them a praising be specific, for example say, “You did an excellent job dealing with that difficult person. You have such strong people skills and I always have confidence that you will represent our organization well no matter who you are dealing with. Because of your sensitivity we need to make sure you have more opportunities to interact with people.” This is so much better than just saying, “Hey, you did a good job with that difficult person.” Praisings can transform people…don’t neglect this powerful tool in your leadership toolbox.
Who in your organization could really use a good praising today?