The power of praise: a leadership hack

Posted in: Amin Neghavati

Every Friday at 4:00 pm, like clockwork, my Teams app chimes with a reminder: "Review your week and send praise to your colleagues." No, it's not some random notification; it's my self-set alarm to make sure I never forget to appreciate the incredible support I receive from the team. Wondering why I do this? 

Enter "Leading Without Authority" by Keith Ferrazzi, a guide to effective leadership in today's collaborative work environments. I like this book because it challenges traditional hierarchical models and promotes a more inclusive, network-based approach to leadership. (It’s a good book. Read it if you like the topic.) I'm here to highlight one golden nugget from this book: "praise and celebrate." 

Why does it matter? 

A sprinkle of positive energy can yield exponential benefits. Psychologist Dan Ariely discovered that praise is valued even more than money, and research confirms that positive vibes foster creativity, flexibility, and open-mindedness. Who doesn’t like them all together? 

Ferrazzi believes we should all dedicate a few minutes each day to set aside critical thinking and acknowledge the friendship, hard work, and significance of those around us (not just at work but at home too). In fact, offering praise and celebration boosts our own spirit too. 

How do you do it? 

Here are some suggestions from Keith Ferrazzi: 

  • Make it personal, in real time: The moment you see it, acknowledge it. There's always something to celebrate. 
  • “Do unto others only as they would like to be done unto”: Praise people the way they want it. Be mindful of the diverse ways in which success is perceived and celebrated across cultures. This awareness will enhance your collaborative efforts. 
  • Praise imperfection: When the team is weathering a storm and performance isn’t perfect, that’s exactly when positive energy is needed most. 
  • Celebrate the momentum: Don’t wait for big wins. Celebrate the small victories too; they pave the way to big ones. 
  • Build your brand: Be authentic. Tell your team how you truly feel when praising and celebrating. Some folks need you to believe in their capabilities more than they do themselves. 
  • Celebrate mistakes: It’s a step towards building trust in your team. It creates the psychological safety people need to review their performance. 

True leadership isn't just about reaching goals; it's about bringing everyone along on the journey. 

So, would you try this in your team? This is where you can find it on Microsoft Teams: 

go to left hand side in Teams and press three dots. Select or search for Viva insights.

Want to learn more about our management and leadership sessions? Check our People Management Curriculum. 

Reference: 

Ferrazzi, K., and Weyrich, N., 2020. Leading without authority: Why you don’t need to be in charge to inspire others and make change happen. London: Penguin Business.  

Further reading: 

Development Toolkit: Praise & Recognition 

Posted in: Amin Neghavati

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