Being an exceptional leader takes behaviors that everyone can observe. But there are also smaller, subtle things that the best leaders do.
One of these small, subtle things is to praise and say thanks!
Praise Among Employees - An Example
One of our teams is currently creating a user interface that should make it easier for other internal developers to submit their software.
An engineer started to use that new user interface. Apparently he was very happy. Therefore he wrote a very kind slack message to the other team. The engineer wrote that their user interface is really cool and of big help.
Boom! What a boost for the morale of the other team.
Praise Your Colleagues!
The example above is a great random act of praise!
But in the department it was not very common to praise or to even talk on other slack channels about good things that happened. The VP therefore wrote a small private slack message to the employee who praised: “Many thanks for doing that - it’s so important to let the others know they are doing a great job”.
This small, subtle message will reinforce the great behavior of the employee. And little by little this will massively improve the culture of the department.
This is exactly a smaller, subtle behavior that great leaders do! And if you want to excel as a leader then you should start praising when praise is due!
Caveat: Don’t Use Praise As a Weapon
Everyone reacts to praise. And you can use praise to bullshit people and drive them towards things you want them to do. This works especially well when you deal with narcissists.
While that will work at first - it will backfire. You will never be able to bullshit people via praise over prolonged amounts of time. Don’t do it.
Praise is important and a great tool for you as a leader. Keep the following in mind:
- Praise early - praise often. Private slack messages can work wonders!
- Don’t use praise to make people do things they don’t want to do. This will backfire - you can’t bullshit people.
- Classic on the topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Win_Friends_and_Influence_People
- Awesome photo on top by Mic Narra