Get Your Team To Perform Better, Through Praise

Who doesn’t stand a little taller, or perform better, when someone praises their good work?

Most people do. So, why don’t more leaders use praise throughout the year?

Could it be that we, as leaders of teams and organizations, are not giving ourselves enough praise?

One possibility could be that there are a lack of role models demonstrating self-praise. It stands to reason that most people associate praising themselves with being self-absorbed.

I also thought that praising myself meant I was self absorbed. I thought that until I heard Marisa Peer (renowned speaker, author, and Britain’s best therapist, according to Men’s Health magazine) talk about the immense benefits of praising (thanking) yourself.

“Highly successful people relentlessly praise themselves,” Marisa says. “They tell themselves what a good job they’ve done, boosting their own esteem and ultimately getting better and better results.”

It is through acknowledging and praising yourself that you gain the strength (and ability, really) to praise others. The better you are at praising yourself for doing a good job, the easier it is to authentically praise the people around you.

Praising (Thanking) Yourself Is The Precursor to Praising Others

If you want to change your life, and dramatically increase your energy, momentum, productivity, and get better results, consider making 2019 your year of praise.

Praising yourself is what gives you the capacity to praise others. (You cannot give to others what you are unable to give to yourself.) The more you celebrate yourself, the more you’ll look for (and see) all there is to celebrate. In essence, what you focus on, expands.  

So focus, focus, focus on looking for and acknowledging your goodness. Doing so will give you the energy and foresight to look for the goodness in others. The more you praise yourself, the more positive energy that you (and they) will have to keep getting improved results.

When you see something Great, say something Great… this Thanksgiving, and throughout the year.

The Ripple Effect of Praise From a Stranger

With just three laps to finish my one-mile swim in the pool last week, an older gentleman stood next to my lane and yelled out at me. I thought he was just wanting to share my lane, so I didn’t pay him much attention.

Then, just before I pushed off the wall to finish the last few hundred meters, I saw that he was still trying to get my attention, and so I stopped to listen.

“You have a beautiful stroke,” he said, and then continued on his way as if such kind words were common.

Before I stopped to listen to what he was saying, my mind was (and often is) busy focusing on what I was doing wrong, and how to improve.

Having just learned to swim five years ago, it’s entirely too easy to focus on how many things I still need to learn. Achieving the right rhythm for breathing, remembering to relax, and letting my hips lead my shoulders, are just a few of the things I strive to improve each time I swim.

Rarely do I stop to remember how much I’ve already learned, or how efficient I’ve become since I first learned to put a swim cap on (again, just 5 years ago).

His kind words not only felt nice, but they made my last few hundred meters more efficient and fun. And, they lifted my spirits for the whole day.

I smiled more. I found myself looking for, and acknowledging, the goodness I noticed in others throughout the day.

Considering what his kinds words did for me, I can only imagine the impact my words have on others, and then their words have on the people they praise. His simple kind words had a ripple effect that very likely touched dozens (if not hundreds) of people, by the end of the day.

The Impact of Creating a Culture Of Praise

Later that same day, I was at the hair salon getting my hair cut. Feeling so good from an afternoon filled with praise, I found myself sharing good energy with the stylists, receptionist, and other customers.

As I was leaving the hair salon, the owner pulled me to the side and said, “You know… you light up a room when you walk into it.”

While he still doesn’t know this (yet), his words were still with me as I started (and finished) my first marathon… four days later.

Allowing my naturally jovial self to spread joy and have fun came even easier to me throughout that run because I was focused on it. Their praise helped me to remember the gift of sharing the positive energy I so naturally exude.  

It’s important to note that neither gentleman gave me anything I didn’t already have — both of them praised what was already there, inspiring me to focus on bringing even more of my goodness to the table.

Here’s Why Self-Praise Should Be Your Top Professional Goal for The Coming Year

Every one of us can create the same kind of ripple effect, every day of the year.

Imagine the improved results you’ll see by the end of 2018, and especially throughout 2019, when you begin thanking (and praising) yourself, and the people around you.

According to a Harvard Business Review article by David Novek, recognizing employees is the simplest way to improve morale and boost engagement. The research shows that a full 40% of Americans put more energy into their work, when thanked for doing a good job.

Praise might seem insignificant or unnecessary (besides, you already pay them to do the work), yet it has proven to dramatically impact performance, retention, innovation, and even collaboration among people of different generations in the workplace.

3 Steps To Improving Performance Through Praise

Success in all areas of life is a direct result of consistency in behavior.

For example, if you want to be able to do fifty push ups (and let’s just say your max is five), it makes sense to do five every day for a week. Then, increase it to seven for a week. And then maybe ten.

Do this every week for 15 weeks (slightly increasing each time), and before you know it, you’ll be able to do fifty push ups in a row… without stopping.

The key is consistency.

If you want better performance on your team, consider using praise more often, by taking these three simple steps throughout the next year:

  1. Praise yourself. At the end of the day, share with someone you trust and respect what you did in that day that was good. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. It can be as simple as smiling at the clerk at a register. Note: This step may seem weird at first (remember that few people do it, and so it has not been normalized. Though it may feel uncomfortable to do the action, or to acknowledge that you did the action to someone else — do it anyway).
  2. Transfer five pennies. At the beginning of your day, put five pennies in your right pocket. Each time you praise someone, say “Thank You,” or acknowledge the goodness in someone else, move one penny to your left pocket. Make sure all your pennies are transferred by the end of the day.
  3. Increase to 10 pennies. Once you successfully complete steps one and two every day for thirty days, increase to ten pennies. Do this every day for an entire year, and watch as your confidence, courage, and consistency lead to dramatically improved results, in all areas of your life.

Remember, the key is consistency. Do these simple steps every day. If you miss a day, get right back to it the following day.   

Your Experiences With Praise

Do you have a similar experience either with praising, or being praised (either in public or private)? What happened, and how did the experience help improve results?

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister

Misti Burmeister has been helping companies and leaders create a culture of engagement for more than 15 years. Help your team reach its highest potential at