Abundant Optimism

Helping people regain and keep an optimistic outlook in challenging circumstances and improve their creativity, mind, and skills.

Praise Those Whom You Admire

By Tamara Martfeld

I have written in the past about the importance of thanking those who do things for you, and actually thanking them instead of “wanting” to thank them (“I want to thank…”). Today I am suggesting that you send letters of praise to people you admire, or even to someone you just notice has many qualities.

A letter is better than an oral discussion because the person can reread the letter anytime he is feeling down or wants to remember how much he is appreciated. It is also something the person can add to a file of his accomplishments and successes.

There are many items for which you can praise someone. One of the items frequently overlooked is a willingness to do the dirty work or successfully doing the grunt work. Who is the person who cleans the area after a meeting or other get-togethers? Who arranges those functions? Who cleans the floor after someone spills something instead of leaving it for the cleaning staff? How about the cleaning staff? As for the grunt work, who is doing the research? Who is making sure everyone gets paid? Who is doing all the supporting functions that enable the ones normally getting the acknowledgements to do their job? My employer has a merit award system where employees can be recognized for outstanding work. There were five divisions in the department in which I worked. The first time my department participated in the program, the largest division had no one who was recognized. Basically, if you were not on the Executive Staff’s radar, you were forgotten. However, none of the individuals who received the awards could have accomplished anything without the grunt work of the forgotten division. Fortunately, this was recognized by Executive Staff and there was an effort to make sure all the work was acknowledged.

Another area for praise is to someone who passes on their skills. Many people act as if there is some threat to their safety if they teach anyone their skills or pass on their knowledge. However, passing on skills and knowledge is important, especially in their work place. People eventually move on or retire, and if no one knows how to do the job, there is chaos. Time is wasted as people research the knowledge or figure out how to do the job. Someone who passes on the knowledge or skills is helping to prevent this waste of time and save money. Why thank them? It is an investment of their time and effort!

A third area for praise is to the person who is willing to take charge in a situation. The person in charge is frequently the person who will get yelled at when things go wrong and ignored if everything works out. This person is also the one who might prevent a disaster by making sure little things are not overlooked – for example, an aisle way not being blocked and therefore available as an emergency exit, or ensuring safety protocols are followed. I am referring to the person who takes it upon himself to do these things rather than the person appointed as a leader, but even the appointed leaders can be praised.

A letter of praise does not need to be difficult. It can mimic a thank you note in letter form or a letter of recommendation addressed to the person instead of the hiring personnel. In the first paragraph state “I recognize that you…..”. In the second paragraph give some specific examples of your observations supporting what you addressed in the first paragraph. Use more paragraphs if needed. In the last paragraph, restate what you are praising and state why it is important to you or your organization. Identify the benefits of the person’s actions or quality.

Everyone needs to know they are valued. Simple acknowledgement that one is valued can make someone’s day. Be the source of that great day!