Maya Angelou, the US author, said that people will forget what we say, and they will forget what we do. But they will never forget how we made them feel.
This is just as true in our personal lives as it is in our business lives.
I was speaking to a senior manager who was feeling a bit jaded. He told me that his boss did not acknowledge his contribution. He was even thinking of changing companies as something was missing from his work life – the emotional satisfaction of a simple pat on the back from his boss.
I came across another manager who said that he was very sparing with his praise. He would only compliment team members if they ‘raised the bar’ in their performance. The result was that praise was the exception rather than the norm in his section. Lots of golden opportunities for acknowledgement of jobs well done were lost. People in his section took their cues from their boss, and hence thus was a low praise and low energy department.
Many people do not appreciate the power of emotion to build relationships, commitment and motivation. At a basic level, they under-estimate the enormous power of genuine praise, of taking the time to spot people doing the right thing.
Think back on your last week. How many times have you spotted someone doing the right thing? How many times have you said something that would make others feel good? This could have been at home or in the workplace.
You will find that genuine praise will increase people’s confidence and put wind in their sails if you focus attention on this simple emotional connection with others. The result will be higher energy, higher motivation and better relationships.
The good news is that it did not cost you a cent. Try it out and let me know what impact it made!