Scenario: "Dude, you are the frickin' smartest frickin' person to walk the frickin' Earth. Wow! You-so-so-A+-intelligent! A+! Booyah!" Let's say Anuj just developed the most super-sexy-fabulous project report for your client, that's now raking in loads of cash. Now if you want to train an all-world superstar-in-the-making, how would you praise Anuj?
- a) "You are the most amazing person in the world!"
- b) "Your project report was super awesome. I admire your extremely hard work and perseverance!"
Untrained managers would go: A! But since you're a super-dope manager, you'd guess the answer is B. And, you'd be right. The rule of thumb to tack onto your managerial wall:
- Praise how your people work -- not their intelligence.
- You'll build superstars who continually rock the world with you.
"What's wrong with praising intelligence?"
You know those sayings:
- "You're super smart!"
- "You are the best designer, ever!"
- "I could never hire anybody who can paint like you can!"
- "You're crazy-sexy-awesome!"
The problem: You build perfectionists who lack motivation, abandon perseverance, avoid risks, and drain performance. According to Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck (courtesy of GK):
Labels, even though positive, can be harmful. They may instill a fixed mind-set and all the baggage that goes with it, from performance anxiety to a tendency to give up quickly. Well-meaning words can sap children's motivation and enjoyment of learning and undermine their performance.
To Positively Praise Your People...
Two simple rules:
- Don't praise them (directly).
- Praise their work.
- Instead of: "You're a great designer! Yay!"
Go: "You designed a really fabulous kitchen decor."
- Instead of: "You're so smart! Booyah!"
Go: "You were amazingly dedicated to your client."
- Instead of: "You're like an eagle: You just soar, and soar, and soar! Yay for you. Oh-tay!"
Go: "I love how you interact with our customers."
When you find your employees doing something well, instead of praising their intelligence -- as tempting as that might be -- tell your fabulous people:
"Yo! Yo work = super-fab!"
Posted on March 14
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