In Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” he quotes a book by Jess Lair “I Ain’t Much Baby – But I’m All I Got’ about praising people. The quote reads:
“Praise is like sunlight to the warm human spirit; we cannot flower and grow without it. And yet, while most of us are only too ready to apply to others the cold winter of criticism we are somehow reluctant to give out fellow the warm sunshine of praise”.
A place I worked early in my career went through two bosses. Boss one was rather unhappy in his own life, and he took out his unhappiness on other employees. He screamed and yelled. He was not above picking up the public address system and screaming obscenities at the staff. As you can expect, turn over was rather high, and productivity was low. We could not keep good people, and those who stayed worked out of fear, which as we know, does not produce the best results. It was a miserable situation.
Upper management eventually noticed his poor leadership skills, and he was let go. As in interim, the district manager stepped in. It was a lasting impression I will never forget. He was very positive, and very eager to praise the staff. He would stand outside his office and ask everyone who walked by how things were going. If someone had just made a good sale, he would praise that person with “congratulations” and high fives. If someone said “well, I only sold something small” he would come with “but that is OK, because the next one will be better.” No matter what answer you gave him, he found a way to turn it around into a praise of your work. It was highly uplifting. Suddenly, work was no longer “work” it was fun. Instead of dreading the job, I looked forward to it. It seemed like productivity skyrocketed.
It became abundantly clear why he was the district manager. He earned his title from hard work and praising those around him. Sadly for me, his hard work paid of for him in being relocated to start a new venture for the company, which was quite an honor for him. So my experience working under him was only for a short week. But it was a week I will never forgot.