Why don't managers praise employees

Praise properly: 9 golden rules & tips for perfect praise

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The office is like boxes: there's always something on the nose. Only those who can take it properly can move on to the next round. Sad! One thing is neglected: proper praise. Especially in business life, the following sentence often applies: The absence of criticism is recognition enough. The German painter Anselm Feuerbach already criticized: “It is easy to blame, that is why so many try their hand at it; It is difficult to praise with understanding, which is why so few do it. " But praise is not just refreshment for the soul - it is a powerful tool to Motivate employees and change their behavior: Praise makes people live up to the same. It warms the heart and opens the stubborn mind. The sublime applause allows bosses to be steered in the same way as colleagues. Well-intentioned praise can, however, also fizzle out or backfire if it is phrased incorrectly. Here you can find out the most important rules on how to give praise properly - employees or friends ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Proper praise is intelligent applause

There is hardly any other topic where opinions differ so much about the right amount, the right time and the right occasion as with Give praise and compliments.

Some throw out the baby with the bath and can hardly keep their euphoria in check. Others press something out between their teeth that sounds like “well done”, but on closer analysis is nothing more than criticism in disguise. And still others are more than skeptical about the whole fuss about the art of praise.

It has always been like this. Napoleon, for example, saw in praise the "dagger that the mighty should always look out for". The compliment may be hiding disgusting opportunist or a future Caesar murderer.

Napoleon must have been well aware of the secret power of praise and flattery, otherwise he would probably never have developed such suspicion about it.

Speaking of flattery: the praise is often placed on the same level as the slipper. Error! If you think like that, you sit down dangerous mistake in reasoning on:

  • Slimes primarily conveys messages that the other wants to hear. It wants to arouse or strengthen sympathy.
  • Praise however, it conveys its own values ​​and goals and only indirectly reinforces a desired behavior.

Also are praise and recognition are not always the same. Even if both terms are often used synonymously. There is a crucial one difference:

  • praise is a form of spontaneous appreciation. It is ideally concrete so that the promised one knows why he or she is receiving it. The boss as well as colleagues or customers can praise you. This form of appreciation is comparable to an occasional pat on the back.
  • recognition on the other hand, there is more attitude than spontaneous expression: someone recognizes the regular quality or performance of a person - and respects and values ​​this person for it. Recognition does not have to be specific or related to the individual case, on the contrary: it assesses the overall picture. And she doesn't have to express herself verbally or physically. Those affected usually feel instinctively whether they are recognized or not.

Regular praise on the job is an important tool for employee motivation. But in order for the colleagues to remain motivated, they have to feel the recognition behind them.

Recognition in the job? Nothing!

But that's exactly what many employees don't do: they Feel recognition. As the platform Kraftwerk recognition When employees in Germany and Austria were asked how often they were praised on the job, it came out:

  • 60 percent of the respondents received praise only once a month or less often.
  • On average, there are 75 days between two positive ones Feedback.
  • 81 percent of the superiors are of the opinion, often praise and recognition to pronounce.
  • 67 percent of employees without a management position are of the opinion that they rarely or never receive recognition receive.
  • 60 percent of the respondents rate their supervisor's ability to be recognized by the School grade 3 (satisfying).
  • 9 out of 10 respondents would like to more praise.

Most seldom are praised in middle management. Or to put it another way: Those who climb the career ladder increasingly have to forego recognition.

Colleagues can pat each other on the back. The higher one gets, the smaller the group of colleagues becomes, up to the proverbial Loneliness at the top. Managers are only people who need recognition just like their colleagues on the assembly line.

Even more:

  • A lack of positive feedback, people tend to cover up their mistakes in order to at least avoid the blame. On the other hand, nobody can learn from mistakes that have been hushed up and they repeat themselves.
  • The second episode is stress. Scientists from the Institute for Medical Sociology at the University of Düsseldorf were able to prove that a lack of appreciation can promote cardiovascular diseases and psychological suffering. Praise, the researchers say, lower that Disease risks on the other hand clearly.

"It is a sign of mediocrity to only praise mediocre"said US President Benjamin Franklin. Rightly. And it's myopic. Proper praise Not only motivates and increases performance (see box) - it also strengthens and improves relationships and team spirit.

Compliments increase performance

Do you want someone to try harder? Then give more compliments! Of course not ironic of the type: "Nice that you finished the project after all." Really, serious! According to a study by Norihiro Sadato from the National Institute for Physiological Sciences, they are even more inspiring than money.

In the accompanying experiment, 48 test subjects were asked to perfect their finger skills on a keyboard and to use new techniques learn. They were then divided into three groups:

  • In the first group, each participant was recognized for their respective learning outcomes individually praised.
  • In the second group, the subjects watched how another participant was complimented.
  • The third group in turn saw the mutual learning successes on a graphic at.

The next day, the test subjects were asked to demonstrate what they had learned again. You guessed it: the first group of individually praised came off the best by a clear margin.

Albert Bandura, a psychology professor at Stanford University, also demonstrated the positive effect of appreciation in a number of studies: Those who are praised are more motivated, set higher goals, feel more committed to them, in some cases they even assume that they have better skills, which in turn improves their performance (see also: Latham / Locke 1991).

"Even the brightest go for flattery", recognized the French playwright Molière. Around 300 years later, the depth psychologist Sigmund Freud determined that humans can defend themselves against attacks, but against praise powerless be.

Praise correctly: 9 rules, methods, tips

So how does it work: give praise right? Virgin founder Richard Branson once said:

I've always believed that Art how to treat your employees also is the way they later treat customers and that people thrive when they are praised.

No question about it: To praise properly is an art. But one that can be learned. And certainly no rocket science. Praise is gentle manipulation with the best of intentions. The right thing Bon mot at the right moment If presented convincingly, it not only helps to put misguided colleagues back on the right track.

The many bonuses or salary increases seem like gestures of helplessness, if this one late appreciation should express. Handwritten notes, emails, a quick phone call, a pat on the back - privately or among colleagues - are far more effective. Because they enrich the feedback with two valuable additions:

  • time spent and
  • human contact.

So that compliments touch the heart of the other and as real Motivation kick above all, they have to work two conditions fulfill:

  1. Praise has to be honest.

    It has to be clear what it was earned with. Undeserved applause rang like mockery in disguise. In addition, every compliment is only worth as much as the person who gives it away. It is therefore important to stick to the facts and neither to exaggerate nor to play down. The more specifically the successes achieved are described, the more well-founded the praise appears. In this way, the person affected can also learn from it.

  2. Praise has to be emotional.

    Feelings always have a stronger effect than factual arguments. It is therefore crucial for credibility that the laudator's enthusiasm is noticeable. Likewise, that he meets the other at eye level. The same applies to restrictions - even if it is the slightest criticism: every beauty mark degrades the praise to a facade - as with the typical sandwich criticism.

These two basic rules can be used at the same time 9 golden rules for perfect praise, which we have summarized here in a graphic:

6 tips for better praise

If that's not enough for you, we also have a few more detailed tipsHow you can praise partners, employees, colleagues, customers and even bosses:

  • Show interest.

    Of all of the above, this is both the easiest and most effective way to encourage others: Show that you really care about what the other has done or is trying to achieve. For example, ask questions. Do you understand. Admire. Nothing seems stronger.

  • Appreciate you.

    Literally: So don't just pat on the back, appreciate the value of the cause or deed and reaffirm the great importance of this contribution. People hate the feeling of being just an insignificant cog in the gearbox - or (worse) the spare wheel. Conversely: If you attach great importance to your plans and projects - preferably publicly - this immediately affects your self-confidence, builds up and arouses new enthusiasm.

  • Ask for advice.

    It is the most subtle form of praise. Hardly anyone can resist this request, to pass on their skills and knowledge if he or she is asked to do so. Firstly, because you thereby raise your counterpart (He the Master - you the student who asked); second, because your counterpart can immortalize himself in this way. After all, you put his profound knowledge into practice. It is also an edifying feeling to have left something good of you in the world.

  • Show gratitude.

    There are people who like to help. As soon as they see problems, they tackle or do the things that need to be done. Unsolicited, as if it were taken for granted. But it is not! And a lack of gratitude can quickly make these people bitter. Then they just feel taken advantage of. Fatal! It is not uncommon for them to be the good souls who enormously enrich a company or family.

  • Return the favor.

    Pop icon Madonna once sang in her hit "Sorry": Don't explain yourself cause talk is cheap. She is right! Thank you, the occasional applause, and appreciation are good. In the long run, however, they cannot replace actions. Talking is cheap. Return the favor every now and then - and show how valuable the previous favor or performance actually was to you.

  • Surprise you.

    Most people who achieve above average or are outstandingly committed have a good sense that this is also the case. Therefore, you usually expect a reaction to it. The least is praise. But the encouraging effect is much greater when you go beyond such expectations. For example, by giving the person a day off based on their performance. Or treat him and his partner to a romantic weekend in a luxury hotel - after all, the two of them have hardly seen each other in the past few weeks because of the important project ... Regardless of how: Be creative, spontaneous and go beyond the average when you appreciate yourself.

Note: The tap on the shoulder is only a few vertebrae above the kick in the rump - in terms of efficiency, however, it is clearly superior to it.

21 alternatives to saying “well done”

But some people lack the right words to praise them. The result is often just a banal “well done”. Certainly, better than nothing. But nobody will really hang in there afterwards. Therefore, therefore and therefore you can still find here 21 alternativeshow bosses can say “well done” to employees - without saying it. The result is pure Adulation, but hopefully sincere and therefore also urgently correct and important ...

  • Great job!
  • Brilliant work! Thanks!!!
  • I am really proud to have you on our team.
  • Wow! Little did I know that a report can be so fun to read.
  • I have never seen a more exemplary project completion.
  • To be honest, at first I wasn't sure what would come of it. But you far, far exceeded all expectations.
  • Fantastic result. I congratulate!
  • We are lucky to have hired you.
  • It has become so ingenious that I suggest it as a reference for subsequent projects.
  • I will present this to our board of directors as a prime example.
  • You have set the bar very high for everyone else. Great!
  • Your work sets new standards in this company.
  • What I see is perfect, accurate, completely thought out, on time - in one word: done. Thanks!
  • As always: fantastic work!
  • And I thought you can't improve any more ... My mistake!
  • I know it was complicated and hard work getting everyone on board. You put her in port too. Thanks for that!
  • A masterpiece - especially in the short time!
  • I have to say it again: you did a great job this week!
  • Wonderful, that's exactly what I wanted as a result!
  • You are good man! Now that's more than you could have expected ...
  • You can be counted on - over and over again!

Criticism of praise: the dangerous greed for recognition

With all the adulation for the praise, we don't want to forget the downside: Praise can also be addicting.

Quite a few working people are looking for work today Self-actualization. The presentation in the meeting, the management of the project, the suggestions and ideas for improvement - they are all stages for self-expression. However, if there is no applause, spotlight or confetti rain, many an office arcissist plunges into a deep crisis of meaning.

The more one be Self esteem derives from his job, his position and external feedback, the more dependent he becomes on it. And the more someone like that tries to realize himself in his profession, the more the failure hurts when he or she realizes that he or she is only doing some job in the end.

Such people sometimes do not behave much differently than one Junkie in cold withdrawal.

A belly brush "Great!", "Super!" or "Keep it up!" can never own that intrinsic motivation replace.

For the management consultant and bestselling author Reinhard Sprenger, there are such Praise arias nothing more than "external control and manipulation" by superiors. Behind this is the general suspicion that workers are naturally lazy and that if you don't hold a carrot in front of their noses every now and then, they won't move. So you have to reward, bribe or punish them again and again - all classic clues Culture of distrust.

This is of course an extreme interpretation. Correspondingly, however, the statement that someone wants to be praised more can also be involuntarily unmask: It degrades the wailer to a dependent donkey who misses his carrot in front of his nose. Somebody like that doesn't really make a name for himself as a committed top performer and a future leader.

In short: Praise is not an obligation to collect - it remains an obligation to bring.

For you, that means that you are away from it spiritually independent should do. Already in your own interest.

Please don't get us wrong: This shouldn't be a clean bill of health for everyone Appreciation see it as superfluous luxury. It is definitely not! The lack of positive feedback can be extremely frustrating, demotivating and sometimes even physically painful - as if you were telling your partner: "I love you" and who only answers: "I know".

But you should accept praise yourself, accept it, be happy about it - but it please never blackmail. That makes you small - and just dependent.

Why praise so often unsettles us

Praise is a kind of trade: Performance against praise. At least that's what most of us learned in childhood: if we did something right, we received praise. Otherwise there was a kick-off. But both have an aftertaste: It is not about me. It's just HOW I am, not WHO I am.

Corresponding skeptical let's stay with praise later, motto: “He's up to something. He only praises because he or she wants something ... "

The reactions to genuine and justified praise do not necessarily contribute to its establishment either. There is hardly anyone who does not receive a compliment insecure or ashamed. Women in particular tend to put a compliment into perspective: "Oh, that was nothing ...". At the latest after the third reaction of this kind, however, the boss or colleague will see it the same way - was nothing. So the uncertainty nips future compliments in the bud. Too bad.

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[Photo credit: Karrierebibel.de]