Welcome to #InspireAfricaProject! Few years ago, I designed a training material for corporate leaders titled, Ten Rules of Corporate Leadership. One of the rules is, “You must pass on the praise to you team when your organization achieves something, and take full responsibility when things go wrong.” You may not be directly involved in what went wrong, but since you’re the leader, you must accept the responsibility.
Unfortunately, many leaders are not only apportioning blames when things go wrong, they also take the glory for every good thing that happens in the organization. They say things like, “I put in many hours to make this happen.” “It was my negotiation skill that made this happen.” But in reality, it was their team that did virtually everything. The danger is next time, your team won’t put in all their efforts like they did in the past. Praise is a powerful tool you can use to get the best from people!
An accomplished speaker shared this life changing story. “Just recently I was a guest at an all-day sales convention. After dinner that evening the Vice President in charge of sales for the company passed out awards to the two district managers, a man and a woman, whose sales organizations had attained the best records for the year just ended.
Then the Vice President asked those district managers to take fifteen minutes to tell the entire group how their organization did so exceptionally well. The first manager (who, I later learned, had been appointed a manager only three months before and was therefore only partially responsible for his organization’s record) got up and explained how he did it.
He conveyed the impression that his efforts and his efforts alone caused the sales increase. Remarks such as “When I took over, I did such-and-such”; “Things were in a mess but I cleared them up”; “It wasn’t easy but I just grabbed hold of the situation and wouldn’t let go” characterized his talk.
As he talked, I could see the increasing resentment gathering in the faces of his salesmen. They were being ignored for the sake of the district manager’s personal glory. Their hard work, which was responsible for the sales increase was completely unrecognized.
Then the second district manager got up to make her short talk. But this lady used an entirely different approach. First, she explained that the reason for her organization’s success was the wholehearted effort of her sales force. Then she asked each one to stand and paid a sincere personal compliment to each for his or her efforts.
Note the difference: the first manager squandered the Vice President’s praise entirely on himself. In doing so, he offended his own people. His sales force was demoralized. The second passed the praise on to her sales force, where it could do more good. This manager knew that praise, like money, can be invested to pay dividends. She knew that passing the credit on to her salespeople would make them work even harder next year.”
I strongly believe that the first district manager behaved like most leaders in Africa. They are the lord and master of the organization they lead. They trample on their employees or subordinates, look down on people and thereby hindering the growth of the organizations. That’s why we don’t have many second or third generation companies in our clime. The leaders usually kill the companies before they die.
Always remember that praise is powerful. Invest the praise you receive from your superior. Pass praise on down to your subordinates, where it will encourage greater performance. When you share praise, your subordinates know you sincerely appreciate their value.
I know that many people won’t like this because Africans were conditioned to believe that once you become a president, governor, chief executive officer of an organization or a managing director, you have become a god everybody must worship. You take all the glory and apportion all the blame. That’s why most institutions in our clime are ran aground. We have more rulers than leaders. In fact, we have more oppressors than leaders.
You must understand that your staff members are not robots. They have the mind of their own. They have feelings. They read meaning into everything you do. They might be saying, “Yes sir, thank you sir,” but they know when you trample upon them or steal their praise.
Whenever I’m speaking to corporate leaders I usually tell them that they will loose nothing by passing on the praise to the team or staff who achieved somethings substantial for their organization. In fact, they will gain everything.
I want you to try what I’m saying right now. Call that lady or young man who just helped in repositioning your organization right now. Say to him or her, “I want to thank you for what you did for our organization few days ago. I must confess that you are one of the brightest stars in this establishment. With this attitude, you will go far. Thanks and God bless you.” Do the same thing during staff meeting in order to encourage others to go extra mile.
Watch that person’s attitude and work ethics within the next few days. You will discover that you have succeeded in telling him or her to go to the moon and stars, and even the sun to get results for your organization. That’s the power of praise!
Parents also make the mistake of talking about the bad things their children do, and have never praised them for the good things they did. Guess what? You’re indirectly telling your own children that you’re a wicked parent. Dear friend, praise your children when they do good things.
I found out that whenever I praise my children, they would start doing good things to attract more praises. Praise pushes people to go extra mile for you. I would like you to do two things immediately: first, organize a three day leadership training for your organization. Secondly, come with your team to our next conference taking place on the 30th of July, 2017 in Lagos. We have a special discount for groups and organizations. Check the handbill below for full details, or call Godwin on 07032681154. See you at the top!
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