If you read my blog about motivating people, you will remember I talked about how people need to be valued and understood. If you have not read it, check it out on this site. (How to Motivate Key Employees).

Why do people like to be valued? It makes them feel like they mean something, boosts their morale and self esteem and motivates them to keep trying to excel.

How do we let people know they are valued?  Pretty simple, but rarely done. We tell them.

When I praise people, I also try to use language they relate to. If I am recognizing our younger staff members, I use the word “awesome.” With older staffers I might say, “That was really a cool thing you did.” You get the idea. Since I like to use stories to illustrate my ideas, here is a story I heard about negative “praise.”

A young professional was very proud of all his accomplishments and asked his mom to come to his office to show her how he had succeeded so far in the business world. His mom, a tiny lady, took a long look around and said: “Yes, but your cousin David has a bigger desk.” BTW this is a true story!!!

So, my suggestion to you is: be sure your praise is sincere and relates to what the person has done. If you can be specific, that is even better (although people like praise no matter what you say, as long as it is not like the story I just told!) In response to an email I got from one of our web designers I said: “Wow. Your ideas about changing the colors are awesome.  Love to see that creative energy kicking in!”

Lastly, praise should be judiciously given. I remember going to an awards assembly at my daughter’s school and every kid got an award. Somehow, that defeats the purpose of an award: that is given for something that is better than average and goes the “extra mile.”

So what do you do to praise your employees? Hope you will share them with us.