It’s the age old question…..when it comes to your team,
how much praise is too much?

According to Gallup research, praise wins hands down when it comes to improving productivity, but needs to be balanced with constructive feedback (or as others refer to it as ‘negative reinforcement’).  The key is getting the ratio between the two right.

So, how does a leader strike that critical balance between encouragement and recognition, while addressing the areas that an individual needs to improve on?

First, here’s some of what the latest research from the US found:

  • 20 million employees feel “actively disengaged” (or negative) when at work, and
  • 65% claim NOT to have been given any recognition over the past year.

These of course are concerning statistics given that employees that are given praise on a more regular basis tend to be more:

  • Engaged (with colleagues)
  • Productive, and
  • Loyal and longer-term employees.

Surprisingly, workplace safety also appears to improve, along with customer satisfaction rates.

So, what does this all mean?

Clearly, there is a significant shortfall when it comes to the level of praise provided by many leaders to employees.

This shortfall translates to:

  • Millions of dollars of lost productivity, and
  • A potentially huge personal toll on the psychological and physical well-being of employees as well.

Although there are countless benefits for praise and acknowledgment, it appears that you can also go overboard.

The research suggests a 5:1 ratio, that is

  • Five praises, to
  • One constructive piece of feedback.

BUT, don’t stop there.

It appears productivity keeps increasing up until a 13:1 praise to negative reinforcement ratio before it starts to drop off a little.

Of course there are some ways better than others to deliver praise and feedback, and that is why it is crucial for leaders to be trained to turn difficult conversations into positive experiences that encourage growth, engagement and commitment (rather than deflating morale).

Praise is one of the most powerful ways to make others feel good.  So, if in any doubt, the choice is easy.  If you want to increase your chances for improved productivity and employee engagement, then praise is your safest bet by a long shot.

Would you like to learn techniques that will help you deliver praise and feedback more effectively?  Let us show you how.  Call 1800 330 027, or visit us at Rapport Leadership International.

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