Sunday 26th May 03:29

Empowerment: Praise and Encouragement

One of the reasons why delegating and empowerment work at work is that they are positive ways of managing people. When we show people that we believe in them, we make people feel good as opposed to negative ways of managing people such as blame and criticism that make them feel bad. Two of the most positive and powerful acts of empowerment are praise and encouragement.

1. In Praise of Praise

Praise that is given deservedly is a powerful form of empowerment. That's because it not only acts as a reward but also encourages people to do more of what we like. When given in constructive feedback, praise is like refreshing rain on parched soil: vital for growth.

· praising others raises your status in the eyes of those who get praised, (think of the last person who praised you!)
· maintain a higher praise-criticism ratio than a criticism-praise ratio;
· praise makes you feel good delivering it as well as the person on the receiving end;
· praise is addictive. When it is justifiably withheld for poor performance, people try harder to win it back.
· people are more receptive to your criticism if they have already been praised by you.

"Our praises are our wages." (Old proverb)

2. Encouragement

Goethe, the late 18th century German philosopher, said that encouraging others after criticism has a much more powerful effect on people than just criticising them alone. He compared the effect to sunshine after a shower. Yet criticism is what we do most of. Count the number of comments you make to your team, or family, or children in one day and the number of negative comments is likely to be far greater than the positive ones. George Adams, the American newspaper magnate, said that anyone who encourages others has an effect on them that they can't begin to know. Words of encouragement go into our make-up and influence the way we think.

"Flatter me and I may not believe you. Criticise me and I may not like you. Ignore me and I may not forgive you. Encourage me and I will never forget you." (William Ward)

3. An Encouraging Environment

If you create a workplace where praise and encouragement are used regularly, you will change what your employees learn.

If an employee lives with clear values, he learns how to set priorities;
If an employee lives with leadership, she learns how to take initiative;
If an employee lives with openness, he learns how to be honest;
If an employee lives with experimentation, she learns how to be innovative;
If an employee lives with appreciation, he learns to make an extra effort;
If an employee lives with customer respect, she learns how to provide outstanding service;
If an employee lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident;
If an employee lives with positive vision, she learns how to perform miracles;
If an employee lives with challenge, he learns how to master change.

Becoming an outstanding manager of others is about learning the right habits and then repeating them daily until they are second nature to you. Making a habit out of praising and encouraging others will turn you into a great manager and leader with great teams and followers. 

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