Best Method Ever to Motivate People

Think about a time when someone went out of their way to tell you about how great you are. Even better was when they told someone else, right?  Maybe it was an email from a coworker and your boss was CC’d. Or it could have been a time when your boss praised your work and then shared it with the team. Or a customer went out of his way to tell your manager what great service you gave them.

Praise, and the third-party validation, is the ultimate motivator. Better than gold…literally. Research shows that positive verbal feedback is more powerful than a monetary reward at reinforcing positive behavior.

Motivate Others

Carrie Stack, is the author of the “The Dream Boss.”  In her book she describes the perfect model for using recognition to motivate people. It’s called “The Positive Promise,” and the technique couldn’t be simpler: See it, Say it, Share it. The most important part of the technique is the sharing part. When you share what you observed with a third-party, it supercharges the experience for the person receiving the praise.  This kind of praise reinforces the employee and helps them feel successful.  Employees who feel successful love their job, and continue to work hard.

Last week I watched someone handle a really nasty client with patience and skill. As I watched, I could tell under her calm demeanor, she was saying to herself, “I do not get paid enough for this crap”. Afterwards, I told her what a great job she did and then made a point to tell her boss. My actions help move it from a negative experience to a positive one for her.  I would be money that when her performance evaluation comes around, her boss will recall what I said.

Why you should do it –

  • You will make the person’s day, if not year.
  • It reinforces the good things people do, so they keep doing it.
  • It will make you feel great.

What will keep you from doing it –

  • It requires you to slow down and stop the train called “Your Life” and look around to see what people are doing well.
  • You assume the person already knows they’re great.
  • If you don’t usually give a lot of praise it’s going to feel weird.

Key principles you need to follow when using The Positive Promise –

  • Make sure it’s sincere. There’s nothing like a big pat on the back, so make sure it means something. Rather than just “good job,” how has this good job influenced you? What kind impact did it make?
  • Make it timely. It loses meaning the longer you move away from the event.
  • Your praise can then be contagious – once someone feels the joy of validation, they will spread it along.

So your challenge is to implement The Positive Promise as soon as you can. See it, say it, share it.  The very next time you See someone doing something good, Say it, then Share it.


This entry was posted in Dealing with Difficult People, Emotional Intelligence, Management, Recognition and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Excellent post. I need for you to come and coach our owner on this. Our leadership uses negativity or silence to demotivate people.

  • Del

    Jim- Right on the money. Just think if this was a regular practice in very workplace. Del

  • M

    Great stuff, thanks!