Praising others is good for you

As has been our tradition, Linda and I took to the skies on Christmas day so we could visit family in New Hampshire.  This year, when exiting the plane, Linda made it a point to thank each employee we walked by for working on Christmas. It’s a sacrifice that MANY people make in the hospitality and entertainment industries, and one that often goes unrecognized.

It was great seeing their faces light up when their sacrifice was acknowledged, but the smiles on the employees faces were nothing compared to the smile on Linda’s face. By the time we got to the terminal, she was grinning from ear to ear, on the verge of giggling.  There was a spring in her step and a palpable air of confidence and satisfaction.

Why was she so happy?

I don’t know the exact science behind it, but praising others feels good. Maybe it’s because we know what it’s like to RECEIVE praise that spreading the sunshine to someone else makes us feel good for being a part of the process. Whatever the case, this experience showed me that we should talk about this more – about how praising others is as good for the person we are praising as it is for us – and it stands to reason.  Many years ago I heard T. Scott Gross saying that the things people do generally fall into two categories: either we do things to feel good, or do things that won’t make us feel bad.  Ultimately he was talking about customer service, but I think the psychology applies here as well.

Many people shy away from praising others because they don’t know how to do it, they don’t want to appear to “favor” someone, or they don’t know what an impact it can have.  Typical “I don’t want to feel bad” type of thinking.

Problem is, you have now made the employee feel bad because they could feel ignored or under appreciated.  Oops.

What if you made the choice to feel good instead of not feeling bad, and praised the next person you see doing something good?  Wouldn’t we all benefit?

Happy New Year!


It’s never too early to start thinking about how to prepare your leaders and employees for the upcoming season.  I’m happy to help get the ball rolling!

2 thoughts on “Praising others is good for you

  1. Very well said. I believe in this philosophy so much and tried to share it in all my training. Unjfortunately, not many bosses followed suit. Many team members would comment they never heard positives from their bosses. Sad isn’t it?
    Keep trying Matt. You are definitely one of the good guys.
    Happy New Year to you and Linda.

    • Thanks, Donna! You bring up an all-too-common problem in many companies. I always encourage employees to praise their bosses, too. Gives them an idea what it feels like, and many have gotten the idea to start praising their teams more. Win-win!
      Thanks again, Donna! Happy New Year!

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