Sunday, May 18, 2014

To elicit change, does praise actually work better than criticism?

One of psychology's axioms is that to elicit change, one should generally praise more than criticize. My article questions the validity of that. HERE is the link.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think there's a fine line between giving praise and showing appreciation. Taking every opportunity to thank employees for their efforts, as long as it's deserved, is a surefire way to build a positive atmosphere in any workplace and to make people feel valued and respected. Since most people, deep down, feel rather insignificant in our society, the value of showing appreciation cannot be underestimated.

Criticism, especially when it comes from higher-ups in the form of evaluations, can be psychologically devastating, especially if an employee has been doing his or her utmost. How the criticism/critique is communicated is probably more important then the critique itself. I ask my co-workers, managers, and students for feedback all the time, but I have found that most people do not feel comfortable giving critiques, even if it is explicitly invited.

I hear what you're saying about how criticism is a more powerful motivator than praise, but I think that since so many people feel exploited in their work and are just struggling to stay on top of bills, expenses, etc., any kind of heavy-handed criticism, no matter how well-intentioned, is going to be a net negative. A middle-of-the-road approach for managers might be to have regular, informal, "chats" with employees whenever possible to determine "how management can be more supportive." Other options that may be beneficial might be to let employees have weekly meetings where they can bounce ideas off one another on how to be more productive/save time/be better at (blank), etc. instead of having managers lecture.

You're right that individuals would be best served by seeking out criticism wherever and whenever possible, but I don't agree that managers should take this approach in motivating employees.


blogger templates | Make Money Online