When I was teaching a management class last week at Upper Iowa University my class was talking about praise. It then dawned on me the best thing about praise is that PRAISE IS FREE. It does not cost you a dime, motivates people and acknowledges them for a job well done. In days of tight budgets and even cuts…that is a tool that every leader should be taking advantage of. In fact…I would go so far as to say that if you are not taking advantage of it you are squandering a valuable resource that could improve your organizations quality, productivity and ability to serve your customer.
I even made it a point to do “the praise thing” myself when my son volunteered to mow the lawn in 98 degree heat and…guess what…it worked! I could tell he felt good about the fact that the “old man” had said something to him about mowing the lawn that went beyond simply saying “thank you.” And then I figured another thing out about praise. I felt good doing it and loved the reaction I got from praising him. I was amazed at how his mood became much more upbeat.
Now…take that next step and begin tracking how often you praise someone so that you don’t get out of the habit because of doing it. In business we are big on tracking and metrics…so why not track when you praise people? Look for opportunities to praise people where it is deserved and track to see how you are doing in this valuable area of leadership. If you aren’t doing it enough this is a great opportunity for you to improve as a leader…just like you do in any other area we are responsible for like quality, productivity and customer service.