Praise and Recognition in Leadership

No one wants to work a thankless job. Even less desired is getting feedback merely on the things one is doing wrong. When people express satisfaction with their job by working more diligently or speaking positively about their employer, they are actually giving their managers a positive performance evaluation. This satisfaction can stem from the simple fact that their managers appreciate their work and give them due praise.

Effective leaders know when and how to recognize the accomplishments and work habits of their teammates. Praise not only motivates employees, but it also increases morale and unites the team. Here are some ideas involving recognition and praise that you should consider to improve your leadership abilities.


Let the truth shine by letting your team know that you are paying attention to their efforts. Don’t just praise a “job well done,” but be specific about their accomplishments:

  • Length of service: Let your employees know that you appreciate their commitment, loyalty and devotion to the company.
  • Unique contributions: Recognize specific actions of your team members such as the technical, creative or even the mundane tasks that no one wants to do.
  • Attitude: Not everyone can be happy all the time, and that is why you need to recognize when your employees have a positive attitude. At the same time, your employees will also appreciate when you acknowledge slumps or bad days.
  • Work ethic: Give praise and rewards to employees who arrive to work early, stay late and finish tasks in a timely manner. Model behavior should be positively reinforced and set in the spotlight for all to follow.


When you are sincere in your praise, you have a much better chance of developing trust, loyalty and positive working relationships. You should praise only when you truly feel proud of your employees and not because you expect a return on your comments. You should enjoy praising others as much as they enjoy receiving your praise. If you don’t feel it, your employees will see right through you. Sincere praise should be its own reward.


You don’t have to wait until the end of the year or for an organized awards ceremony to give praise. Make sure you recognize a new employee’s flair for attention to detail as often as possible. Tell your seasoned employees regularly that their diligence doesn’t go unnoticed.

Being an effective leader is all about communicating well. While reprimand and criticism show more directly what not to do, praise reinforces and refocuses what your employees should do. The more you praise others, the more they will identify with the team’s priorities.

Try balancing your praise and criticism by using the Losada Ratio. Your employees will perform best if you praise them three times to every one time you criticize them. Not only will you boost their confidence, you will encourage them to be more creative and productive.


The people you lead will also work more effectively if you adopt a “show-and-tell” approach to praise. Being demonstrative in several ways gives your praise and recognition more power:

  • Make a little extra effort to recognize your employees in front of others. The other employees will then appreciate this effort and improve their own work.
  • Play an appropriate song in the background while you present an award. This shows that you can also be fun while leading the team.
  • Use the company’s social media website to praise employees. This gives more people within the company an opportunity to also recognize your employees.
  • Even small gestures such as going to a worker’s desk and personally shaking their hand or showing empathy while listening can make a huge difference.

Recognizing and praising your employees is an excellent way to build loyalty and create a positive working environment. If you treat people like they’re important to your company, they will, in fact, be important to the company. They will be more motivated and satisfied with their jobs because they believe in their work and their leader.

About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finances. He has received many accolades for his work helping small business owners in developing leadership skills.


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