How often do you like getting praised? Let’s be honest, we all love being praised for ALL THE GOOD WORK that we’re doing and have been doing in the world. This is “considered” as one of the biggest motivators at work and in life; when in reality, that is just not true. Our motivation comes from within and not from external praise (read on… you’ll see what I mean).
There are multiple ways in which we seek and give feedback, but mostly, we look for praise, rather than criticism. Who likes criticisms whether at work or in life, anyways? In this vicious cycle let’s ask ourselves these questions: Are we getting too praise dependent? Do we get disappointed when we see or hear criticism? Or get demotivated when we don’t get praised? I believe a large number of times, YES! Whether it is at work or in life, we think people around should “naturally” feel obliged to praise our work. While I do think it is important to say good things about the effort of another person… often it doesn’t occur to us to tell people who look naturally good with work that they’re good.
Well, I believe a large number of times the answer is – YES! Whether at work or in life, we think people should “naturally” feel obliged to praise and appreciate our contributions (maybe our documents, our strategies, our methods, our cooking, our behavior, etc. And not criticize it). While I do agree it is important to say ‘good’ things about the effort of a person, often, it doesn’t occur to us to let other people know that they’re good with what they’re doing. We take it for granted that they’d already know it (Oh! The dreaded assumptions).
To get you thinking a little, I’ll share this incidence with this with you. Two years back, I was working as the head of media department, in an educational group before I ventured on my own. I reported to the CEO and he was a busy busy busy man. Intrinsically my personality had been such that I’d love to receive feedback for ALL my work. So, I’d often expect him to praise me or even give some criticism (to grow), when I’d implement new strategies to or do something wrong, respectively. I’d love feedback! However, I’d rarely get anything from him. One day, I recall being told by a lovely lady that “Priyanka if he is believing in you and giving you the position of power, it means you’re being praised and appreciated for your work.” And this was TRUE and I realized it much later. Thank goodness I’ve grown from that place and am a much better judge of situations now.
It was only recently that I got introduced to Gary Chapman’s 5 appreciation languages at work (I highly recommend you buy it and READ it), and when I took the test it showed that I leaned towards words of affirmation at work. The process is first, be aware of what you want; second, communicate your preferences at work and in life; third, show first in action then expect others to reciprocate (you’ll read about this down). If you’re not aware of your own preferences, you won’t be able to effectively communicate the same to your peers or even your bosses. It could be a limiting factor for many.
The good news is, you can rid yourself from being too praise dependent or being hit hard by criticisms here are some measure that you can take, NOW, to ensure you are helping yourself work better, stay motivated and true to your core, be good to others and yourself:
- Be your biggest motivator: Constantly try to improve yourself and reflect on what you’re doing right and where you might be going wrong. In personal life, are you hurting people around you and in relation hurting yourself, or at work, are you not delivering what is expected of you? Till the time you’re aware of your actions, at work or in life, you’ll know how to push forward from the crowd and stand out. You wouldn’t need any praise or criticisms, you’ll be a proud and self-motivated individual.
- Detach yourself from the concept of praise and even criticism: Yes, I’ve added the word criticism here and it is true in our case. I’m neither praise dependent nor affected by criticism. We all seek some or the other kind of praise and I was certainly one of those people but I can vouch that I’ve gotten better from there. I took me time to understand that I need to add value and better my process, each and every time. Very often we love being praised and hate being criticized. We associate praise with positive emotions and criticisms with negative emotions of the person who gives either of the two. These emotions might be true in small amounts of cases (almost negligible) but in large number of cases we do see that it truly doesn’t matter who the source of the feedback is… what should matter is that we’ve engaged with the work, or process or product or service and we know we did our best.
- Let the praise cycle start with you: I am a big fan of this. We don’t need to wait for someone to tell us our good or bad worth. Have you heard of self-praise? Well, we can “brag” about the good things that we’ve done in the world and let the world know. Of course, we don’t need to be a prick while we say it, humility is key but it is important to let your inner voice know that you’re doing good. While we do this, we must also ensure we let other know that how much praiseworthy others around us are. And that we’re thankful for what they contribute to making the world a better place. It’s all about doing your bit first, to keep yourself happy, only then can you ensure things around you yield the results you want.
- Communicate carefully and specifically: I love providing feedback to those who seek it and love getting it as well. Taking from my previous job example, I was in such a position that I had no one above me in the hierarchy, except the CEO and a small segregated team under me. I would often feel sad and dejected at the time that I don’t get any words of appreciation. However, I realized I never told my boss that I prefer to hear it from him. People aren’t telepathic to know what’s going on in our minds, so we must communicate effectively and efficiently to let others know what we specifically require from them.
- Make your intentions clear: Leave no room for assumptions! You know they’re deadly, right? We all seek some or the other kind of praise and I was certainly one of those people but I can vouch that I’ve gotten a lot better from there. We need to communicate, listen and negotiate in all aspects of life (& work), including this. I’m neither criticism or praise dependent because I focus on adding value and bettering process each and very time. When we shift our energies to the process and the value addition, we make our thinking more constructive towards, learning, developing our skills and growing from there. We then know that we’re doing the thing right and are being helpful. The point to think about is, what proportion of praise are you giving than what you expect to receive?
Now I want to see what you think about praise and criticism. Do you get too affected by it? If yes, why do you think that happens? Do you have a strategy to get rid of this sickness? If yes, for any or these questions or if you want to ask something, then put it in the comments below.
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