Positive Reinforcement – Why managers should prioritise praise
“If each of us was to confess our most secret desire, the one that inspires all our plans, all our actions, we would say “I want to be praised”” – Emil Cioran, Philosopher
When we see an outstanding leader in action, one of the first things we notice is their ability to recognise achievement and celebrate success in a way that feels genuine. This has an uplifting snow-ball effect on the team.
This is evident in data gathered from global engagement survey providers, which consistently tell us that there is a direct link between enhanced retention, productivity and revenue and employees receiving praise and recognition at work.
But even when we know that praising employees for their work and commitment has a positive effect on our bottom line, it can still be something we struggle with.
Practice makes perfect.
Knowing you should give positive reinforcement, and actually doing it are two very different things. Also, saying the same thing on repeat will quickly lose its impact. So not only does it need to become a habit but you also need to mix it up.
“The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount” – B. F. Skinner, Psychologist
- Find out what motivates each member of your team and tailor your positive feedback to drive their performance
- Use different channels. Some people prefer one-on-one, others in front of the team, or in an email. Most people will respond well to praise, however it is delivered, so use a variety of forums to keep it fresh
- Remember your introverts. You may not hear as much about their accomplishments so make the effort to dig a little deeper to find out how they are going. If they’re delivering great results, let them know
- Commit yourself to never forgetting to praise a team member who you see going the extra mile. Discretionary effort is the hallmark of engaged employees and these are the people you need to retain.
- Remember, it is far easier to spot mistakes than it is to focus on what is right with a piece of work. Keep this in mind when delivering feedback and make sure it’s balanced.
- If you have a consistently high performer, don’t forget to consistently praise them for their efforts. Sometimes when a high level of performance becomes the norm from someone, it can be easy to let the positive feedback slip off the radar
- Performance reviews are the ideal opportunity to link an employee’s efforts with the bigger picture. Tie their achievements to the strategic goals of the organisation – this reminds them of the ‘why’ and the important part they are playing
- If you’re working on an area of development with an employee, take every opportunity to positively reinforce behaviour or actions that show they’re improving in this area
Positive People can help you to develop your frontline leader’s ability to recognise their team and elevate performance. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 09 445 1077.