In Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to win friends and influence people, Mr Carnegie highlights one of the principles of good human interactions and that of successful people as being “Lavish in your praise and hearty in approbation”. I love that. Not only are the words from the beginning of the 20th century so beautiful, they show consideration. They just don’t translate in modern language in the same way.
Lavish in your praise; Find positive elements in what the other is doing and saying. Recognise these, be ‘lavish’; don’t hold back. Of course it needs to be sincere and genuine. Faked praise is insulting and mostly has the adverse effect of what you are trying to achieve. If you try hard, you can always find something positive, something worthy of praise.
Do this in your teams, not only to each other but to other teams in your business, to your clients and to your suppliers. If something was delivered on time and to spec, say so, and how much you appreciate it.
The rule of thumb is to be 10x more lavish with your praise, than you are with your approbation. When you do, you’ll find that the approbation will be required even less.