In the “One Minute Manager” by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson on page 19 they talk about how to get good results from people, specifically at work. Their take is that if people feel good about themselves they will produce good results. Anyone who has been in charge of people knows that one of the most challenging aspects is to get peoples best. People so often do not produce up to their potential, not because they don’t want to, but because maintaining the motivation to always do their best is challenging day in and day out.
As a leader you have to find ways to keep spirits up on a consistent basis. There are often complex incentive programs put into place to try and maintain company morale. What the authors try to get across is simply being positive and giving praise can go a long way. Too often people are caught doing something wrong and then are scolded. Try the reverse, catch people doing something well and give them praise. You will reinforcing good behavior while making the person feel good.
This is very easy to envision in the work environment, and it should be easy to find opportunities to try it out. Once you get in the habit you will find that it comes very naturally and you will begin to use it outside of work also. When coaching youth sports I have found that positive praise has gone a long way to not only reinforcing skills but keeping the kids excited about the sport. With my own daughter I try very hard to give praise and emphasize when she does things well. It is so easy to scold, she gives me plenty of opportunities, it is even more important to praise. So wherever you are in life be that positive leader, take note of positive actions, and give praise!