A shortcut

There is an old joke, I am not sure where it is originally from, but at least I am quite sure I have heard it in the series The Middle.

It’s about a wife, frustrated at her husband as he never shares his feelings for her. “You never say I love you”, she says. “I told you when we got married”, he counters. “If anything changes, I will let you know.”

This reflects quite well the attitude towards praise in business.

Managers think members of their teams know where they stand, because they once shared a “good job!” with them, or at the very least because if things would not be ok, for sure they would let them know.

It is an easy shortcut to avoiding a serious conversation about the job that is being done, one that requires a careful look at the whole (what we are doing as a company, why it does matter, where we are headed, …) and at its parts (how does what you are doing fits into it, what I did like of your job in particular, what can be improved, …).

If you do not express sufficient (and specific) appreciation for the people you lead, chances are they are going to look for it somewhere else.

Do not be surprised when they do.

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