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It Pays to Praise Employees. Here's How to Do It Right.

Stashed in: Management, Give and Take, Leadership

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One more call back to Grant's "Give and Take"

I like this anecdote:

In his best-selling book 'Give and Take', Adam Grant cites a classic study led by Harvard psychologist Robert Rosenthal. In 18 different classrooms ranging from Kindergarten to the fifth grade, students took a cognitive ability test, measuring skills deemed critical to learning and problem solving. Rosenthal shared the test results with the teachers: Approximately 20 percent of the students had shown potential for "unusual intellectual gains over the course of the school year." Teachers naturally gave special attention to these 'gifted' students.

When students took the test a year later, the 'bloomers' had indeed improved more than the others--their IQ points rose at greater rates, and two years later they were still outgaining classmates.

Nothing special here, right? Except one thing. Grant writes:

"The students labeled as bloomers didn't actually score higher on the Harvard intelligence test. Rosenthal chose them at random.

The study was designed to find out what happened to students when teachers believed they had high potential. Rosenthal randomly selected 20 percent of the students in each classroom to be labeled as bloomers, and the other 80 percent were a control group. The bloomers weren't any smarter than their peers--the difference 'was in the mind of the teacher.'

...Teacher's beliefs created self-fulfilling prophecies."

The point?

You need to see the potential in everyone. All of your people are talented in different ways; it's your job to see those talents, and to bring out the best in them.

Support them. Encourage them. Develop them. Praise them.

Because whether they realize it or not, it's exactly what they need.

Awesome!! If only the corporate world paid heed...

The good corporations will pay heed. 

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