This medium can range from social talk to more formal, job-related tasks such as instruction giving and motivational feedback.
Talking with people in a one-to-one situation is the least efficient way of communicating. Yet, it is also the most effective.
People talk to each other to establish and maintain relationships, which in turn serve certain needs. Specifically, these needs are:
1. to gain a better understanding of "reality" and to develop and clarify our self-image.
Example: "You are so much better at communicating your ideas to others than your peers."
2. to satisfy a normal hunger for affiliation with others.
Example: "I knew you were at the conference. You were noticed by some of the most powerful people in the industry."
3. to gain support for our personal growth.
Example: "John does an outstanding job of giving recognition to members of his organization. He really raises interpersonal relations to a whole new level."
*We quickly build relationships with people who reinforce our self-image--positively or negatively.
Types of Praise:
Type 1: Little effect on performance of the receiver.
Generalized praise: "You're doing a good job." (Meaningless and without effect. A crooked stroke.
Praise with no further meaning: "Good." No analysis of why a praise is being offered. Discounts the person being praised. Assumes they will react with higher productivity and better morale merely as a response.
Praise for expected performance: "Wow, you're on time today, you're doing great." Such praise may be questioned.
Praise perceived as a "carrot": Used to encourage the receiver to work even harder for rewards in the future.
Praise as a "sandwich": Praise given first to make person more receptive to criticism, then followed up by another bit of praise. "I like the work you did on the last project. However, I did notice that you made a few mistakes in some minor areas. I look forward to seeing the great work you will do on the next project."
Praise handed out lavishly: Only used when higher-ups are present. The boss uses this to impress superiors with how good they are in dealing with subordinates.
Type 2: May have a positive effect on performance and build on authentic relationship.
Specific praise: "You did an outstanding job handling that rep from ABC Corp. this morning." Communicates that the boss observed or heard about the praised action.
Praise with meaning: "The reason I think you did such a good job on the project is because you asked questions, wrote down the facts, ..." Allows the employee to internalize the experience.
Praise for better-than-expected results: "Thanks for putting out so much extra effort for coming in over quota, exceeding the target, ..."
Praise, when deserved, is believable. Praise mixed with critique is suspect. Don't mix the two--praise and criticism.
Praise to commend and recognize, avoid putting a "mortgage" on the future.
Praise given when it is deserved, not just on special occasions.
Type 1 Criticism
Criticism that involves the personal "you." "What's the matter with you anyway?" Almost always seen as a put-down.
Criticism that is unanalyzed. The subordinate then tend to rationalize the criticism as a personal opinion of the manager. Manager viewed as unable to analyze the problems effectively.
Criticism where managers are at a loss to provide coaching neccessary for the subordinate to improve. "I haven't a clue as to what to tell you to improve your job performance."
Critique of an individual in public: Not only humiliating to the subordinate involved but sometimes even more so by other members of the organization.
Criticism given only in the interests of the boss: Used to get the boss recognition, promotion, or raise. Authentic relationships are not likely to develop after this.
Manager does all the critiquing. Sets stage for parent-child relationship.
Criticism used as a calculated game to justify withholding raises or promotions.
Type 2 Criticism
Criticism using a situational description. "We've experienced an increase in production delays. What is going on?" Indicates the manager is open to looking at all the facts.
Discussion of cause and effect with the unfavorable condition perceived by both as the result of more causal factors, one of which might even be the manager.
Solutions to be outlined and agreed upon. Manager provides or arranges for a way to develop corrective measures.
Individual criticism given in private. Saving face.
Criticism given in the interests of the employee, to provide greater competencies, future achievements, or more secure future with organization.
Subordinate participates in critiques, even to the point of taking the lead role in defining the unsatisfactory condition, analyzing causes, and suggesting corrective steps.
Game-free criticism leading toward candor and authentic interactions.