Withhold All Praise

Occasionally, one of my employees does something well. It surprises me nearly every time, but it does happen. As a leader, should I withhold all praise, or make a big deal about it and praise the employee for her actions?

Of course not! (If you think I should… well, you haven’t been learning enough of my awesomeness. You should probably subscribe so you don’t miss a single lesson, because you’re obviously not getting it!)

Instead, I shouldn’t do anything at all — which is the same as withholding praise, in this example. (It’s amazing how not doing anything also accomplishes an important task. Yay for corporate efficiency!)

Why Should a Leader Withhold All Praise?

  • You don’t want lavish compliments to create a bunch of cocky jerks, do you? If you’re anything like me, the size of your own ego doesn’t leave room for competition in your company.
  • Praise is a distraction that prevents you from doing your real duty as a leader — which is to make tons of money.
  • It is definitely worth the time it takes you to scold an underling, even if you do it all day long. This is vital, because it tells the employee what they should do more awesomely. How will they ever know otherwise?

W. Albert Jameson, IV

On the other hand…
If you want to frustrate your employees and discourage them from doing things right, just ignore them. Ignoring team members is twice as damaging as focusing only on their weaknesses!

Sound harsh? It should! To avoid this, simply pay attention to the strengths of your team members and praise them for their successes.

Name one specific strength you can praise that you would normally ignore.