If you want to create a culture of continuous improvement, then give recognition and encouragement to those who do good work to continue to do good work and continue to seek new opportunities. I can tell you from experience that the leaders I have had who gave me recognition for my efforts gave me the desire to do even more. This morning I listened to Simon Sinek who talked about the company Spanks who asks their employees to imagine they are entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs generally start a business without knowing what they’re doing but are passionate to be successful. So, Spanks challenges their employees to be passionate and be creative thinkers. In an article by Gordon Tredgold, he states there are 6 ingredients in what he calls the PRAISE model:
1. PUBLIC – Always follow the approach of criticizing in private, praise in public. It not only shows the person being praised how much you appreciate them but it also shows others too, which is a great boost to the person’s self-esteem.
2. RECOGNITION – clearly recognize the individuals, highlighting them and their contribution. What gets recognized gets repeated.
3. AUTHENTIC – You need to be authentic when giving praise. It needs to be genuine for the person to acknowledge it, accept it, and appreciate it.
4. IMMEDIATE– Feedback must be timely, as close as possible to the event.
5. SPECIFIC – You need to clarify what it is that you are praising. The more specific, the more likely it is to be repeated.
6. ENTHUSIASTIC – Just as much as what you say, how you say it is extremely important. When you are enthusiastic, the person being praised will look for more opportunities for praise.
If your staff/students experience all 6 elements of praise, your people will appreciate it, and continue to look for additional opportunities for praise, and they will also start to praise and appreciate each other, even you.