Richard Branson is famous for saying “Lavish praise on people, and people will flourish; criticise people, and they’ll shrivel up”.
The definition of lavish is to bestow something in generous or extravagant quantities. The definition of praise is to express warm approval and admiration.
It’s the best and easiest thing you can do to motivate people.
It’s also easy to forget to do it.
Forgetting happens when you start to take your best performers for granted and you stop telling them that they are doing a great job because you become used to them delivering to a high standard.
It can also happen when you get frustrated with those who are underperforming and criticising becomes the norm – even if you’re criticising them in your own head and not verbalising it.
So how can you remember to express warm approval and admiration in generous proportions?
The key is creating a habit, so it becomes a natural reflex.
Over the next 30 days, try doing these three things as often as you can.
- In every meeting, praise at least one person for something they have said or done, even if they are not in your team. Try and do it within the meeting, but if not, follow up with them after. You could praise something simple like “that’s a great question” or “what a fantastic idea”. If they are presenting something, you could say something like “I really enjoyed your presentation. Slide 7 was insightful, and I learnt something new today.”
- Call a member of your team and give them some praise for something they have achieved or delivered this week.
- If you’re meeting with your team, celebrate a win. It could be something the team has achieved together or something an individual has done. Or acknowledge positive behaviours. Maybe some members of your team stopped what they were working on to help others meet a deadline. Or perhaps someone did something fantastic for a customer.
Focus on praising the things you want to see more often. That way, the team gets a better understanding of your expectations, and you’ll create the culture you want.
And double-up! When you’re patting yourself on the back and saying I’m doing a great job of giving praise this week – try doing it twice as much the following week.
Then watch what happens. Look at the pride that develops on people’s faces. Notice how their motivation levels change and how motivated the entire team becomes.
Observe what happens when you praise your low performers – do they start to turnaround? How about your mid-high performers? Do they step it up a notch?
Give it a shot – you won’t be disappointed!
“Praise, like sunlight, helps all things grow”
Croft. M. Pentz
Watch the first 30 secs of this video where Richard Branson talks about True Leadership.
I love how he says “When someone messes up – find an excuse to praise them for something else.”