How to Ruin a Good Compliment


Have you ever been “praised” by someone who ended up making you feel as if you had failed?

 “You did such a great job with that customer, BUT you still have to learn to follow procedure”

The only part that you remember is after the “BUT”.

 “You were top sales person last month. Great job!  When I started working here, I was top for 6 months straight.  If you can keep it up you will be as good as me.”

It is all about me.

 “Way to go! You didn’t screw it up this time!” 

Not so funny is it?

 “Great Job! You Rock!”

That’s nice, but what did I do that was so great that I rocked?

 Nobody wants to be “that” boss, but our best efforts at giving positive feedback are often perceived in a much different way than we meant them.

How can we give praise that is effective and will encourage more behavior that is positive?

Rules for positive feedback

Do it Now – Positive praise is like produce it get stale when delayed for to long, so give positive feedback as close to the event as possible. 

In Public and In Private –Praise in public, criticize in private; however before you go singing a person’s praises from the rafters, think about what they would prefer. Public praise of an extremely shy person may cause an emotional response that overshadows your good intentions.

Make sure it is specific – The best positive feedback is sincere and specific. Tell the person exactly what they did and how it

 The praise should match the accomplishment – Hold the balloon drop and brass band for common achievements. Over the top with rewards can look like the proverbial Cookie for being a good boy or girl.

Spread the love – Make sure that you praise positive behavior evenly and limit the perception of “favorites”.

Mind the Middle – Top performers tend to get the praise and bottom performers get there share of attention too, but what about the middle?  The person who moves from below average to above average has made progress that often is overlooked.

Well placed, specific, positive praise builds confidence, loyalty and engagement in your team members. Think of it as a lever that will allow you t move your team towards success.

 Contact me to find out more about how I can work with you and your team to develop your coaching and leadership skills, so that you can move your team to the next level.

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