Archive for the ‘Parenting and communication’ Category

Communicating Praise that Makes an Impact

by Pamela Jett, CSP

Giving praise is one of the most positive forms of communication.   However, if all we say is “thanks” or “good job”, we miss an opportunity to get make a real impact.  Well delivered praise  rewards and increases the likelihood that people will continue the praiseworthy behavior.  Here is a simple process to give praise that is meaningful and effective every time.  (BTW, I sure wish I could remember where I learned this system – I would love to give credit where credit is due.)

1.  Use names – people like to hear their name associated with the positive.  Research also reveals that every time we hear our name, we get a tiny endorphin rush (the happy hormones.)

2.  Praise immediately – psychologically, your praise will make a bigger impact if it is delivered as close to the praseworthy act as possible.  Leaders, don’t hold on to all the good stuff for performance reviews.  You can double-dip.  If it is fantastic, praise immedaitely and share during a review.

3.  Be specific – don’t simply say “good job.”  Make it clear what you are praising.  That way, people will know what to keep doing.

4.  Point out the impact – this is HUGE!  Of all the steps, this is the most neglected and the most important.  Telling people why what they did matters (pointing out the impact) creates better employee engagement, a greater sense of commitment, and greatly increases that likelihood that the praise will be remembered (and acted upon in the future)

5.  Ask for a repeat – simple and effective.

Susan, you did a great job organizing the data in this report.  Well organized data is what really makes a difference during the monthly review. Keep up the good work.

Following this pattern for giving praise (it also works as a guide for writing thank you notes as well) will increase the likeliehood that your praise will be received as sincere.  Leaders (and parents) who use this system increase commitment and engagement while empowering employees (and teens).

What are your thoughts on giving praise?  Please post a comment and share this blog with others.  Pamela Jett is a communication skills expert who believes that “Words Matter.”  Find her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, connect on Linked In and sign up for her “Brain Wrinkle” on this website.

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Employee Mistakes and Communication

by Pamela Jett, CSP

I read in today’s edition of the Harvard Business Review’s on-line management tip of the day that it is vitally important for leaders and managers to let employees make mistakes.  I would agree.  It is often wise to step-in and correct an employee before a mistake is made, especially if it will be a large or costly error.  However, it is also often wise to step back and allow an employee to make a mistake and then coach them on the back end on how to either fix it or do better in the future.

By allowing employees the freedom to learn from their mistakes, leaders are not only contributing to an employee’s sense of personal responsibility and success, they are also improving employee engagement.  It is a well known fact that people like their own ideas the most and will be committed and engaged in implementing solutions or ideas that they help create.

So how can a leader or manager use remarkable communication to coach an employee after a mistake has been made?  One way is to make sure you communicate in the positive, not the negative.  Sometimes as leaders we are so busy telling people what not to do that we forget to tell them what right looks like.  Monitor your use of the word “don’t” and make a concerted effort to “ditch the don’t” and communicate in the positive, not the negative.  Share with employees what you would like them to do next time.  Better yet, ask them what they think they ought to do next time.  You will enhance employee engagement by asking employees (or your children if you are being a leader at home) for their input.

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Help your employees, your children, your colleagues, and even yourself learn from mistakes.  Use remarkable communication to help them learn and you will see commitment and employee engagement soar!

How has communicating in the positive helped you?  Leave a comment and share your success story!

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It’s “Just” a Word

By Pamela Jett, CSP

I had a conversation recently with a good friend of mine who is parenting a fantastic 16 year old son.  He is a great kid, a stellar student, a gifted athlete, and well liked by his peers.  He does, however, pressure himself to be a “superstar” at everything and sometimes that self-imposed pressure creates nerves or jitters, especially on the basketball court.

In a well meaning attempt to ease the pressure her son has imposed on himself, my friend tries to remind him that “it is just a game.”  After she shared this with me, I asked her “are you open to some feedback?”  (Unsolicited advice is the worst kind, in my opinion.  So, I wanted her permission or “buy in” before sharing my thoughts.)  Here is the gist of what I shared with her.

The word “just” is a minimizer.  For example, “I’m just an administrative assistant”  sounds weak and self-demeaning.  Whereas “I’m an administrative assistant” sounds confident and capable.  I was concerned that by telling her amazing son that it is “just a game” she would be unwittingly sending a message to him that basketball isn’t very important, ought not to matter, and that she as a parent doesn’t place a lot of value on something that he clearly deems important.  For her son, such a message could be devastating.  She agreed and together we worked to craft a message that would still honor the importance basketball holds for him while not adding pressure to perform or succeed.

It’s “just” a word – right?  It’s just one small word that can completely change the tone of a message. Words matter and the words we choose to use and the words we choose to lose can make all the difference to our career (and our parenting) success.  I challenge you to monitor your use of the word “just.”  Use it sparingly.  Use it wisely.  Consider if using “just” adds to your credibility or detracts from it.  Ask yourself if using “just” might send a belitting or demeaning mesage (albeit unitention as in the case of my friend.)  Using “just” is a habit we can break.

If you have situations where you have found “just” to be a minimizer, please share them with me.  Post a comment, subscribe to this blog, and share with your friends and colleagues.

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