The power of Praise-Insight from Pieter Linden

Earlier this week I wrote about how employees really need praise as much, if not even more, than more compensation.  I had some wonderful feedback regarding this post, with most of it coming from my friend Pieter Linden.

Here is an excerpt from a story Pieter shared with me:

The other funny thing about it – this being Thanksgiving week – you would be surprised how much a simple (but sincere) thank you means.  Last year, I helped supervise the building of a house for a woman who had recently emigrated from the Sudan. Being that she hasn’t lived here long, her English was almost non-existent.  At the ceremony, her daughter spoke for her.  Instead of saying anything, the woman gave everybody at the dedication (all 6 or 7 of us) a hug.  But a real hug.  Things like that definitely leave a lasting impression.

My thanks to Pieter for sharing this.  He went on to add this:

The other thing about helping people — you realize how small your problems really are by comparison.  The stories I have heard talking to people while volunteering would scare you.  Can’t help but think "i maybe be going through a rough spot, but my life is nowhere near that bad!"

By this time, Pieter was on a roll, and he offered even more to this story:

The other side effect of praise (or its antithesis) is that the employee gets a much better understanding of what the boss really wants.  Sometimes, especially when it comes to technology, the boss really does not know because his expertise is in another area.  It’s a variation of "I will know it when I see it" and critiquing the interim deliverables or attempts at delivering "what the boss wants".  How do the people you supervise know what you want unless you somehow explain it?  The weird thing is that I got a pretty good raise there – but only after I heard someone other than my boss say that my boss really liked my work.  Maybe she thought that I bite??

Pieter, I have gotten to know you, and your bark is much worse than your bite.  In fact, you are really a softie.  Many thanks for adding this personal testimony to this story.

I think now you see the value of praise.  Verbal praise is powerful, and a hug is not bad either.

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