Grease wheels of success with praise and recognition

Marcus Straub
Marcus Straub

Business owners solidly focused on moving their companies to ever higher levels of profitability constantly look for ways to improve their business models. To achieve this requires a discerning awareness of what is — and isn’t — working in daily operations. There’s a potential pitfall here, however.

If, as a business owner, you’re so focused on what’s wrong in your business model you fail to see all that’s actually being achieved and accomplished and how far the business has progressed over time, you’ll squash the morale of your team members with a lack of praise and abundance of criticism. Over time, team members will come to feel less and less excited about being a part of what you’re trying to do with the business. This, in turn, will limit the upside potential of the business, and therefore, the prosperity you’re working so hard to create.

On the other hand, you’ll reap the greatest rewards when you offer constructive praise and recognition to your valued team members while also working to continually enhance how the company operates. Why? Because when people feel good — even great — about the positive steps they’re making and the work they’re doing, they’re encouraged to stay the course and do even better. Just consider how great it feels when you receive an award, are honored or are the recipient of praise and recognition.

The majority of humans thrive on praise and recognition. To understand this more clearly, consider two very different situations.

When a person is praised for a job well done, they typically light up and get excited. This is widely apparent in their body language. When this happens repeatedly, they grow more self-confident over time, take on challenges with greater initiative and passion and become more adept at whatever they’re doing. In other words, they’re motivated in a positive way to learn, grow and become more — to perform at a higher level.

Conversely, when a person truly gives their best and is met with criticism in the form of what they did wrong and what they should have done better, without praise or recognition for what they did well, they’re left feeling defeated and inadequate. If you’ve ever been a part of a situation like this, you know how devastating this experience can be. Again, defeat is written all over their face. Over time, this leads to a negative self-perception, diminished self-confidence, resentment and lack of drive or determination.

A person’s behavioral style and motivators will determine how and in what way they most want to be praised and recognized. Some prefer open and public displays, while others would rather the praise come in a more subdued and quiet fashion. Some team members are motivated by days off, others an opportunity to learn and still others by bonuses or raises. High-quality assessments coupled with sound coaching make it easy to understand, manage and motivate each person on your team.

It’s imperative to understand this desire for praise and recognition starts early in childhood and doesn’t change simply because we grow older. The desire to feel good about ourselves and the efforts we put forth doesn’t leave us as we move into the world of work. As a business owner, it’s wise to get a firm hold on this understanding and change your perspective so you and your managers offer the praise and recognition for which your team members yearn — and need — to be their best.

When team members in any business are supported in constructive ways, both in a job well-done and in those areas that are in the process of improvement, they’ll perform at higher levels simply because they feel valued and supported in their development. When you give others what they want, they’re more likely to give you what you want and everyone is happier.

Once I teach business owners how to lead from a position of composure and with a balanced perspective, they work with their teams in new, dynamic and powerful ways. This in turn, helps them to build the empowered teams that produce the very prosperity they’re looking to achieve.

In your unending pursuit of success and a finely tuned business, don’t forget to “grease the wheels” that make your success possible with well-deserved praise and recognition.