Today’s praise is tomorrow’s motivation! Tips for sustainable cooperation

Not scolded is praise enough. This (rather southern German) saying is unfortunately still commonplace in many companies. But praise is much more effective – and, let’s face it, much nicer! And in addition a real bust in motivation! Why you should express your appreciation to your employees or even to the freelancer of your last project and how this works best, you can read here:

The value of motivation

Recognition and praise are the basic building blocks for long-lasting motivation. If you also communicate the positive achievements of your employees and freelancers to them, they will not only feel a (deserved) sense of achievement, but also the feeling that their work is appreciated. This is a great incentive! On the other hand, it is very demotivating to be taken for granted and, in the worst case, even to be replaced. Because believing that a lack of recognition or even constant reprimand will drive the other person to perform better is a fallacy that can lead to resignation in the long term. Nevertheless, many supervisors worry that this could potentially give employees the upper hand. But the small percentage where this is actually the case far from makes up for the large percentage you spur on and make happy by praising. By the way, praised behavior is also more likely to be repeated or reinforced. So the chance that performance will remain consistently high is very high after praise. Good employee management leads to more satisfaction and a pleasant, long-term relationship (this also applies to freelancers, by the way). So praise more! Now you can find out how.

Tips: How to praise best

However, in order for this positive effect of your praise to really unfold, it depends on the right way. It’s all in the technique. If you only praise in a general or superficial way, your counterpart (regardless of whether it is an employee/freelancer, colleague or someone from your private environment) will probably not receive it at all or at least rarely as desired. It works better that way:

Praise personally

Praise should always be given in person, preferably in private. Firstly, you can be more precise about the corresponding achievements and secondly, it is uncomfortable for some people when the spotlight is on them in front of others (e.g. colleagues). One or the other may even fear envy. Of course, it’s a different story if you want to praise an entire team for their work. Here you can sing the praise hymn in front of the whole team. If you want to schedule an extra appraisal interview or a separate appointment for it, you should announce that it will be a positive discussion. Anything else could cause your employee or freelancer to feel uneasy in advance.

The right timing

Direct feedback on the work itself or the performance achieved contributes significantly to the fact that this will continue to be followed and that corresponding behavior patterns will be established. Because if you save the praise until an annual meeting or project conclusion, no one will probably know exactly what went really well at time X. Or why it was this or that. Or what it was that made this or that a success. Therefore: it is best to praise promptly.

Mean it honestly

But just because praise is good for motivation and the employee relationship, you do not have to praise every little thing or even give reasons. Because only sincere praise that is commensurate with performance will have the desired effect. Insincere, flat praise, on the other hand, does not help anyone and, on the contrary, only leads to a saturation effect when a special achievement should actually be acknowledged. Conditional praise along the lines of “You’re doing a great job, that’s why I have a huge mountain of it here” is also better left alone. Because from it your counterpart learns only that positive words on your part always serve only one ulterior motive and purpose. You should also not use hidden criticism here. Praise for the sake of praising, because the other person has done something really well and praise him or her exactly for that. Simple as that.

Respond to your counterpart

When formulating your praise, keep your counterpart in mind: Rather reserved people who are less convinced of themselves need regular praise that gives them security and shows their value or achievement. And this is also true if the person does not flaunt his or her achievement in a striking way. More confident, ambitious types tend to get more out of more pointed, less regular praise that gives them that final push to peak performance. Everyone responds differently to recognition. When you take that into account, both parties end up benefiting.

I-messages and emotionality

Depending on the type of person you have in front of you for your eulogy, you can now also strike a somewhat more emotional tone if necessary. You should also not hide your enthusiasm – but only genuine enthusiasm, please. If your employee or freelancer has really exceeded your expectations, then you should also show him or her this – and tell him or her what this means for you and the company and why the performance is so exceptional. I-messages additionally strengthen this effect and your credibility.

Words like “You did a great job!” or “I am/we are very proud of you!” are really balm for every soul. Finally, you could encourage your counterpart to continue in exactly the same way. And you will see: Praising is good for your employees and for you!