The power of praise… moving from me to we.

I was walking this morning with my German Shepherd dog and an idea came into my head which I would like to share with you.  All the literature I have read on dog training talks about positive praise and reinforcement. I have noticed my 4 month old puppy responds when I say ‘good boy’ but runs away when I tell him off!!!  He is clever enough to know and show his appreciation in response by wagging his tail if my praise for him is truly meant.

This got me thinking how in the human world the magic of praise works in our day to day connections with each other, and more specifically in the context of leadership. One of the key qualities one expects or rather hopes to see in a leader is the innate ability to not only recognise their staff but also have the ability to show how much they appreciate them through the medium of genuine praise.  Seeing is not enough without saying!

Giving honest praise does not belittle us as leaders if anything we feel better for seeing the goodness in other.  There is a paradox in praise in that while we acknowledge those around us we not only become better leaders but we also hopefully, inspire and encourage them by showing we very much value them as well as their contribution in our journey.

Praise is like sunshine, it lifts our soul and gives us this warm glowing feeling that we are are on track and we are surrounded by good people so why not do it even  more? However, remember your team will see through you if you are giving praise for in order to get something back in return. This has to be honest, genuine and timely.  This quality in leaders not only helps to get better co-operation and ideas from their work force but it also helps create a happy work atmosphere of mutual respect and confidence in one another.  It also helps create a synergy and momentum of goodwill which can make or break a deal. Success comes if we move from me to we.

Staff retention is a much talked about topic these days however, one of the top reasons why people leave an organisation is not so much because they are paid less but it is often because they do not feel valued, recognised and appreciated. 

Giving praise does not cost you anything when it is most deserved, if anything it elevates the person giving praise and the person on the receiving end.  Identify someone around you now and give them honest praise then check in with yourself to see how it feels.  We all want to feel special it is a human need so don’t withhold saying what you really appreciate in the people around you.


6th October, 2021.