No more silent treatment. Tell your employees they're doing a good job.

When I came into the business years ago, the people I trained under had two ways of communicating that I was doing a good job: 1) they let me know I was doing well by not busting my chops, or 2) they left me alone and said nothing.

But if I messed up, like handing up the wrong size fitting, I knew I had done something bad because the fitting came flying back at my head as fast if not faster than I had handed it up! Thankfully those days are gone for me … at least I hope so.

Still, the nature of people under 40 is either the silent treatment if they’re doing good or tossing a fitting at their head if they make a mistake will work. Today, you need to be communicating early and often.

I swore to myself that when it came time for me to teach and lead I’d do better. But it wasn’t easy for even me to live up to my promise to do better. Frankly, I probably stuttered when I first made my first attempts at giving an “Atta boy” when I’d find anybody doing something good. I guess I felt too busy to stop and say something nice.

Funny how I always found time to yell and show my disgust.

What I learned is that if I want to discipline and correct bad behavior I needed to watch for and in the moment give a compliment. It was amazing that once I got into the habit of not just seeing their faults that I became aware of how many good things they did that I just took for granted.

I’m telling you from experience that if you fill up their “Good Praise Bank Account” when it does come time to correct or take action on the Steps of Discipline they’ll be more able to listen and change for the better.

I used to think if I was too glowing in my praise they’d relax. It’s just the opposite. The fact is if you compliment often and genuinely in public they’ll want you to do more of it. The trick is to contain your anger and your desire for perfection when a mistake happens. Take the time to find out if it was a lack of communication, training or something you could have done better. Once you know you’ve done the best you could, it’s time to correct the behavior immediately.

Remember to “compliment in public and criticize in private,” because people respect the extra effort and you’ll find a much better response to what you’re saying when you do a once-in-awhile correction.

Make deposits in the form of your praise to their “Good Praise Bank Account” and take the extra effort to catch them doing something good so you can be in a better position to make a withdrawal when you do have to coach or discipline them.


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