Providing feedback is an important part of a manager's job. Both critical and positive feedback helps workers understand their jobs better and motivates them to improve. Unfortunately, some managers focus on negative feedback and rarely give praise for a job well done. Better management techniques help ensure that workers know when they're performing well. Great managers point out good work and offer honest praise freely.
There is a distinct difference in how managers and employees value praise. Many managers feel critical feedback is more helpful to employees, but employees themselves typically see more value in praise. Employees generally find critical feedback helpful when it comes from a manager who also gives positive feedback regularly. All employees want more recognition for their hard work, and praise is an easy way to provide that. Being generous with praise helps you cultivate closer relationships with your workers and promotes a more productive work environment. Here are a few dos and don'ts to get you started.
Do Be Specific
Some managers overdo praise, randomly saying "good job" to everyone as they move around the office. These vague props soon become simple background noise to workers. Instead, take the time to provide positive feedback to individuals or teams for taking specific actions in specific situations. Specific praise shows your employees that you recognize and value their good work.
Don't Give False Praise
Because employees respond well to praise, you may be tempted to try to phrase all feedback positively. Avoid this temptation. People quickly recognize insincerity, and your workers might lose respect for you if you regularly share false positive feedback. On the other hand, feel free to point out the positive parts of mostly negative situations. When your employees know what they did right, it encourages them to work harder to fix their problem areas. Emphasizing the positive and showing compassion while delivering criticism also creates a more positive company culture for a better overall work environment.
Do Offer Timely Praise
Positive feedback needs to occur shortly after the good work is done. Employees are busy, and your praise loses its value if employees can't readily remember why you are praising them. If you see good work, don't wait a few days to see if the trend continues or to evaluate the full outcome. Instead, take a moment to immediately let the workers know what they are doing right.
Don't Expect Instant Gratification
If you aren't in the habit of praising your employees, they might initially respond poorly to your complements. Receiving praise can feel embarrassing, and your employees also might not trust your new, more positive demeanor. Don't give up. The effects of honest praise are long-lasting. Even if your employees seem to shrug off your positive feedback, it still affects them in a good way and motivates them to do more good work.
If you generally avoid giving praise, remember that all employees value praise and few get enough of it. Build a better management style by offering specific positive feedback in a timely manner and telling employees what they did right. Soon, offering praise will become your natural reaction whenever you see good work.
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