How do you communicate praise for a job well done?


Quick Answer

Communicating praise for a job well done must be specific and descriptive of what happened. Say, “I observed how you dealt with the difficult customer in a calm and respectful manner just now; well done,” rather than mentioning, “you seem to be good with customers.” This ensures feedback is meaningful.

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Full Answer

Praise can be a useful motivational tool to encourage great performance. However, if managed badly, well-intentioned praise can have a detrimental effect. Turn praise into valuable feedback by ensuring it focuses on what someone does rather than who that person is. Describe specific actions or behaviors to allow a person to recognize where to improve and maintain performance.

Describe rather than offer judgement. Describe what you saw or heard, using how, what, when and where. Judgment is given from a personal perspective, which may be different than another person's. Ensure feedback is of value to the recipient, not the person giving the feedback. Saying "great job everyone" may feel good for the manager, but employees may be skeptical and feel it has no substance. Consider the personality of the person receiving the feedback. Some people may not be comfortable receiving feedback in a public place and in front of peers, but instead may prefer a more personal approach.

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