I am very bad at praising people. I know it, tried to do something about it, limited success though. When thinking about reasons why I came to one conclusion. There is difference between what I see “praise worthy” and what my people see as praise worthy.
Regarding performance there are four groups:
i) not meeting expectations
I guess not much needed to say here. These are people who will either change or leave.
Many times it happened to me that people from this group blamed their performance on a) overall bad atmosphere in company b) lack of praise and motivation from my side and c) not good time for them (whatever this means). If you ask me, it’s all bullshit.
ii) meeting expectations
Room for improvement but at least doing their job. This group is looking for and expecting praise. You guessed it, I am not giving it. You have only done what you’re supposed to do and you are paid for it. In my experience their performance tends to decline with time and praise given as they settle for too low standard.
iii) sometimes exceeding expectations
Praise given – for “exceeding expectations” tasks. This is my top 20% people. Solid workers with occasional great moments. Unfortunately, most of the time, those rare expeditions to the land of “extra mile” are mostly driven by me.
iv) always exceeding expectations
Best people I have. Top 5% of my team. Agree on what needs to be done and consider to be done. Even better and faster than you expected. Praise given but not much needed. Those people are driven from within. Strong internal motivation and drive is what they have in common.
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