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When was the last time you gave your people positive feedback?
Most people don’t give enough positive feedback. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) for today is to check in with each of your direct reports and include some genuine positive feedback in the interaction.
Ideally, positive feedback should really land with the person. For example, many introverts like to be praised for their knowledge, their skills, their expertise, or their contributions. They don’t want the back-slap and the “great job!” (introvert internal monologue: “Why is he hitting me? Why is he yelling at me?
Extroverts tend to like praise that matches their energy level. That back-slap and “great job!” might really resonate. Some people are high-five people. You can spot them by their Tigger-like high intensity, and you can give them that high-five.
For people who are high on the “warm” side of the warm-to-cold personality trait, praise tends to land when it’s filled with genuine gratitude (e.g., “Thank you so much!”) or tied into the relationship you have (e.g., “I’m so glad you’re on our team!”).
No matter who you are praising, don’t be fake. Don’t say something you don’t mean, and don’t over-praise—throwing a ticker-tape parade for someone who filled out the TPS form correctly undermines your praising efforts. Over-praisers lose credibility and may even be seen as “mocking” the person they are trying to build up.
Remember that people who are struggling need that praise, too. It’s great to praise people for their successes, but make sure you also build up those who are still trying. “I know this is a long slog of a job, but you’re going to get through this, and it’s going to be great when you’re done with it.” “I know you can handle this.” “You’re taking one for the team here—I know how tough this is for you, and I won’t forget how hard you worked on this.” “You’re the only person I’d trust to get this right.” I mean, also check to make sure they are on the right track and make sure they have the tools and resources they need—maximize their chances of success—but make sure you have topped off their motivation tank with a few well-chosen words, as well.