When we only praise the activities that few people can do, we discourage the every-day excellence we can all achieve.
Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.
Dale Carnegie advised us in 1934 that we should be Hearty in our approbation, and lavish in our praise. And we are, of the people who save the baby from the burning building, divert tragedy, or run ultra-marathons. These individuals do deserve our admiration to an extent, but we need to be careful not to overemphasize the more visible accomplishments to the extent that we de-incentivize the small wins.
If management is pushing productivity through an organization, leadership is pulling from in front. But leadership doesn’t have to be 1 man or woman pulling an entire organization up the mountain. It takes a chain of linked individuals, each pulling everyone forward in great and small things to create success across an organization. However, the culture of the optimal organization is not to point to the top rungs and say be THAT guy, because we don’t need 2 CEO’s, we need people who take ownership and create value in every position of the company. But how many times have we had people go above and beyond in the small things that had a profound impact on our personal or professional life and never given them the praise they deserved? Or worse, how has it effected you when someone only gives marginal or poor effort, because the tasks they’re working on aren’t praised in their organization no matter how well they are done?
When we make leadership into something bigger than ourselves, we give ourselves an excuse to not take responsibility for the profound ways our actions affect other people. We all have had experiences where someone’s small act has had a profound impact in our lives, for good or bad. Don’t forget to praise their investment in you or your organization, or learn from their mistakes.
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