How to Praise Someone Professionally

Managers, team leaders, and business executives are always looking for ways to motivate their staff and keep them happy. Sometimes, the answer is simple: praise them for a job well done. Employees want to feel appreciated and valued for their hard work, so why is the simple task of professional praise and affirmation so often overlooked? It doesn’t take much for a leader to praise their team for their hard work and dedication, and this praise can go a long way in motivating, inspiring, and increasing the productivity of employees. Here you will find suggestions for delivering praise and positive feedback in a way that builds meaningful connections with colleagues and employees. 

Congratulate a Job Well Done

Everyone wants to know they are doing a good job so take the time to acknowledge employees when they do something well. A simple, “Wow, you really did an excellent job on your presentation,” or “You really made some interesting points in our meeting today,” can help build self-esteem and validate the hard work of your team members. Not only does this make the person feel appreciated, but it can also lead to continued success because people are motivated when they feel appreciated. Whether it’s done verbally, in an email, or as a complement in a meeting, take the time to acknowledge even the smallest accomplishments. 

Praise People for Their Abilities

You don’t have to wait for someone to exceed their quota for the month, manage a huge project, or land that big customer to praise them. Sometimes, it’s important to complement employees on their abilities. For example, “You have excellent communication skills,” or “You are so well-organized,” are great examples of professional praise. This kind of praise will encourage employees to continue developing these important skills. 

Make it Personal

Whenever you are delivering praise, try to make it as personal as possible. For example, let’s say you have an employee who worked very hard on a project. Instead of saying, “Thanks for your hard work,” you might instead say, “Julie, I really appreciate your dedication to putting together this spreadsheet.” Be sure to mention the employee’s name and their specific contribution. It may seem like a small difference, but personal praise is far more powerful than generic praise. 

Make it Specific

Much like the example above, you want to be specific about your praise. Instead of a generic, “Great job!” you should highlight the specific act that you are acknowledging. For example, “Julie, your hard work on that spreadsheet will help our team know exactly how to accomplish our goals.” When you give greater detail about the work you are highlighting, the praise feels more genuine. It also provides important feedback about what the employee did well. 

Celebrate Milestones or Big Accomplishments

While it is important to praise the little things along the way, the bigger things also call for a celebration. Host a special luncheon to celebrate an employee who has worked at the company for 20 years. Present an award or gift to someone and thank them for their years of service on their work anniversaries. You can also celebrate big accomplishments like the employee who exceeded their sales goals for the month. Praise and celebration is important when recognizing both long and short term goals.