Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

4.8 The role of personal success in inspiring self and others is discussed with examples.

ryanrori January 5, 2021

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Negative influences surround all of us daily. If someone tells you that you cannot do something, more often than not you believe it and in the process end up not doing it. It is very easy to become discouraged by other people and to start believing that you cannot do the things that you would like to do and achieve.


Our behaviour is often similar to that of a flea. If you put fleas in a jar and watch them carefully, you will observe initially that all the fleas start jumping against the lid of the jar. The fleas will continue jumping against the lidof the jar until they eventually realise that they cannot get out and then they jump just high enough not to hit against the lid of the jar. Ifyou then remove the lid of the jar, the fleas will be unable to escape because you have conditioned them to jump lower than the opening of the jar.

How does the story of the fleas apply to your life?

Praise and personal recognition is a confidence booster and it develops a positive attitude.

The Importance of Praise

Successful leaders use praise and recognition effectively. Praising employees for their improvement and proper performance is even more important. Sincere and honest praise lets employees know that you appreciate their efforts.

Praising subordinates is a simple act that takes little time but will provide many benefits. With a few positive, encouraging words and a pat on the back, you can recognise and reinforce desired behaviour and performance. An employee who feels that his or her best efforts are valued by you is likely to continue in those efforts.

It is important that your employees know they are viewed as valuable members of the organisation. With praise and recognition, you can create and reinforce a positive self-image in your employees, making them feel like winners. This is most desirable in confusing or unclear situations where the employee is trying to do the right thing but is uncertain of the actual performance level.

For example, new employees can be uncertain of themselves, but they feel a sense of pride when praised and recognised by their leaders for improved performance. Employees under stress also need a few words of praise to let them know they have done the right thing in a difficult situation. Some employees are assigned necessary but boring and unchallenging tasks. They, too, must be praised for their contributions to the overall

Research on Recognition and Praise

There are many benefits to giving recognition and praise:

  • . Give people pride in their work and in their job
  • . Make people feel good and appreciated for what they do
  • . Keep people from feeling “taken for granted”
  • . Provide motivation for people to “go the extra mile”
  • . Increase commitment to the organization
  • . Improve relationships between coworkers
  • . Make constructive criticism easier to accept because praise is also given out.
  • . Promote a positive atmosphere in which praise prevails
  • . Make work more pleasant and motivating

This takes hardly any time and costs little or nothing to give, yet the benefits are enormous.

Research has also identified benefits of recognition and praise:

Consistently and frequently applied formal and informal recognition programmes provide management with a powerful tool to influence employees to live the company’s values and implement its focused mission.

Herzberg, F. 1966. Work and the nature of man. Cleveland, Ohio: World.

Four-year extensive study found that effective leaders spent a majority of their time actively managing human resources through motivating and reinforcing their employees’ value-enhancing behaviours and communication with them on a regular basis.

Luthans, F., Hodgetts, R. M., & Rosenkrantz, S. A. 1988. Real managers. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.

In a meta-analysis of behavioural management studies over the past twenty years, it was found that social rewards (recognition and attention) had as big an impact on employee performance as did monetary rewards.

Stajkovic, A. D. & Luthans, F. 1997. A meta-analysis of the effects of organizational behavior modification on task performance. 1975-95. Academy of Management Journal, 40: 1122-1149.

25 percent of HR executives said that a lack of recognition was the most likely factor causing a good employee to quit his or her job.

Wallsten, K. 1998. Targeted rewards have greater value and bigger impact. Workforce, November

Hay Group study indicated factors such as recognition for a job well done, respectful treatment, and coaching and feedback were considered more important than pay in terms of worker commitment.

Stum, D. L 1998 Five ingredients for an employee retention formula. HRfocus, September: 59-510.

A study of 254 respondents from a large, public, not-for-profit service organization found (a) employees place a high value on personalized, specific, and instant social rewards such as attention, recognition, and sincere appreciation, (b) employees felt that more recognition was highly desirable, and (c) a preference for recognition based upon efforts which contributed to organizational success – not false praise or automatic length of service recognition.

Luthans, K. 2000 Recognition: A powerful, but often overlooked, leadership tool to improve employee performance. Journal of Leadership Studies, Winter, v7i1 p. 31.