Why Praising Progress Works

Continuing on the leadership trend this week, it's time to talk about the ways we manage and how positive reinforcement is one of the most overlooked aspects of management and leadership.

The old school way of thinking is to beat people down and be stringent, forceful and almost feared as manager so that you can command respect. The reality is that if you want to be successful, if you want to have a staff that looks up to you and if you want to better the careers of your employees, you have to love people down- recognize them for the things they do well and support them where things can be improved. 

My friend Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager whom I met through Harvey Mackay’s Roundtable, recently posted about this topic and said:

"In the workplace, unfortunately, many managers wait until people do something exactly right before praising them. The problem with this is that some people never become high performers because their managers concentrate on catching them doing things wrong, keeping an eye only on the desired performance instead of praising progress along the way.

If you set clear goals and catch your people doing things right, you’ll create a work environment where people are engaged and fully committed to doing a good job. It only takes a few minutes to praise someone for a job well done. It will be the most important minute of your day.”

As you can tell, Ken was spot-on with this. People are at their jobs for 40, 50, 60, 70 or even 80 hours a week sometimes (but hopefully not always with the latter) and they want to work in a place where their work is respected and they add value to the company. Regardless of industry or company size, I believe its possible for anyone to have this feeling. It all starts from the top-down- if management/leadership can recognize the tremendous work that they’re all doing, you’ll have happier employees and a better place to work.

Think about this: when coaches like Pete Carroll positively encourage their players, while still commanding respect, you get a happy team (and Super Bowl wins, too).

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