How to provide effective praise

I came home to a nice treat tonight in the form of this link. As I read Joshua Fattore’s short post, I realized that he provided an excellent model for how to give praise.

Team leaders, indeed all team members, will want to learn the art of providing praise and then practice it often. At the risk being overly self-serving, allow me to point out why this is such a good model.

Elements of Effective Praise

  1. Clearly State the Compliment: “I really like this guy at Stronger Teams.”
  2. Specifically Identify the Behavior or Performance: “Some really good insights on team building and relationship building.”
  3. Acknowledge the Effect of the Behavior or Performance: “I know some people who SHOULD read this” (presumably to learn).

All praise is good, when it is sincere. However, the most effective praise provides the receiver with enough information to repeat the praise-worthy behavior.

Imagine if Joshua had stopped at item 1, “I like this guy”. Clearly, I would have appreciated the compliment and link. However, I would not have learned much about why the praise was given.

The real value of praise comes from items 2 and 3. In this example, they tell me that there is value for others when posts provide insights on team building and relationship building. Armed with this information, I can use the feedback to guide future behavior.

If I were on Joshua’s team, I would know what he liked, why he liked it, and what effect it had on him and the team. Do you provide teammates enough praise and with enough information to reinforce the behavior or performance?

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