Praise and recognition key ingredients to success

Marcus Straub
Marcus Straub

Business owners focused on moving their companies to ever higher levels of success, profitability and sustainability 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 trap here, however. If you’re so focused on what’s “wrong” in your current business model, you’ll fail to see all that’s actually being achieved and accomplished and how far the business has progressed over time, and you’ll squash the morale of your team members with a lack of praise and a preponderance of criticism.

While this approach might get you some of the short–term results you’re looking for, 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, and the top performers will likely move on. 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, when you offer well-deserved praise and recognition to your team members — while also working to continually enhance how the company operates — you’ll reap your greatest rewards. 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. Just consider how great it feels to you when you receive an award or are honored for your own hard work.

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

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, they feel inadequate. Defeat is written all over their faces. If you’ve ever been a part of a situation like this, you know how devastating this experience can be. It’s compounded as this behavior is repeated over time. This is called negative conditioning and commonly leads to a negative self-perception, diminished self-confidence, resentment and a lack of drive or determination.

Sam Walton, the entrepreneur who founded Wal-mart, put it this way: “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”

The desire to feel good about ourselves and the efforts we put forth is a very real human need. As a business owner, it’s wise to get a firm hold on this understanding and change your perspective so you’ll come to offer the praise and recognition your team members yearn for and need to continue advancing.

When team members in any business are supported in constructive ways, both for 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 encouraged in their efforts to grow. When you give others what they want, they’re more likely to give you what you want, and everyone is happier.

As I coach 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, allows them to build empowered teams that produce the very prosperity they look to achieve.

In your unending pursuit of success and a finely tuned business, don’t forget to offer the well-deserved praise and earned recognition your team members need to learn, grow and become top performers in your business.