Use Praise, Not Criticism, When Managing Staff

July 16th, 2012

The Italian political philosopher Machiavelli once said, “It’s better to be feared than to be loved.” As a manager, allowing your supervisory style to follow that line of thinking is a step toward disaster.

As a manager, you want to accentuate the positive as much as you can when dealing with your employees. Ask yourself, would employees see a barrage of criticism as positive, or as overwhelmingly negative? And of course, you know the answer!

Criticism can have a short-term payoff, as workers step up their pace and pour all their energies into fulfilling stated expectations – no matter how unreasonable, and in the face of negativity. But in the long-term, a company will find that it will end up losing. That outcome will show itself in low staff morale, overall lower productivity, and in the end, your best employees will move on to new positions in another business – and most likely won’t hesitate to spread the word about a toxic, unsupportive environment with you in charge.

So, you might be asking, what type of “praise” should I be providing as a manager, and how will it motivate my employees? The answer to that is simpler than you think. Come up with a plan for each of your supervisees – as much as is feasible – using the following tips.

Acknowledge Employee Failures

When an employee takes steps to work outside his or her comfort zone, or to take a risk, that is an opportunity for learning and improvement. History’s best innovations have often come from multiple failed attempts; find ways to encourage and support your employees in their own innovations.

Be Specific

Being specific with your praise shows an employee that you are paying attention. Don’t just say “you did great work on the Smith account” – talk about how the employee was instrumental in bringing in 20 percent of the new business in the last quarter.

Mention Great Work To Others

Sometimes it isn’t enough to praise an employee. Another even more powerful tactic is to mention your employees’ work to others. Whether it is to your own superiors, to your peers in other departments, or the rest of your staff, talk about your employees’ good deeds and great performance in ways that showcase their accomplishments.

Managers look to Olympic Staffing for support and advice when working with staff members to create a positive work environment. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.