Are you ruining those that depend on you? Part 2 of 2

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Yesterday I hopefully planted the seed of thought as to who may be acting or behaving the way they do as a direct or indirect result of your actions. Those that you may be over or under-praising.

So what are the mistakes we make?

Here are 7 tips:

  1. Don’t praise the outcome – even though you mean well – it changes the focus to the right result, not the actual process. This is praising the components not the outcome – in this instance, the parts are worth more than the sum.
  2. Don’t praise what can’t be controlled – this is basically saying things like you are so smart – this means that if they don’t do something smart again they will feel that they are not worthy.
  3. Don’t over-praise – this will set a higher than required standard and then make it seem impossible to repeat and achieve again in the future.
  4. Don’t praise insincerely – this conveys a sentiment of pity – this may send a message that it’s okay to fail and you can keep doing it without consequence.
  5. Don’t praise that which comes easy – there is no upside to this. This tells your team that you either don’t know what was involved in completing the task as to them it was easy or that you have really low expectations when it comes to performance and so they can continue to just do the bare minimum and you will be happy.
  6. Following on from the above – don’t over-praise what they enjoy doing – this can actually detract from the enjoyment as they now see it as something that they should be doing to get your praise. This may then stop them from doing the task or even worse – if they don’t get praise each time – they stop enjoying it all together.
  7. Don’t praise by comparison – this is critical – what you are doing is actually comparing performance rather than congratulating a result! Putting people up against each other is not the way to pass praise at all.

Hopefully, this helps you manage those that work for you and those you care about too.

Praise is an important emotion for humans, we thrive on it. That being said it also needs to be sincere and none of this rubbish that goes on at schools when kids lose soccer games but everyone is a winner. That doesn’t work in the real world and should be nipped in the bud post haste! I am not suggesting you call your child a loser for not winning a game but equally, they should not be praised either. Life is tough and they need to learn that early on. The same applies to your sales team. When they lose a pitch for a new piece of business don’t praise them or say how well they worked on putting it together. This is not praise this is pity.


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