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Sunday, February 25, 2024


Over the years I've often heard leaders posit the strategy of pairing criticism (usually of employee performance) with doses of gratitude/praise. I think of it as "graticism."

The best, and usually the smartest, team members I've worked with recognize this psycho-manipulation for what it is: an attempt to "soften" criticism with praise. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, as the old mantra goes. 

I am neither a fan, nor practitioner.

Two considerations that spring from my hard experiences on this front:

1. Uninvited criticism is rarely, if ever, received well (I believe the research in psychology supports my position in this regard). Rather, surfacing poor performance issues through conversation and inquiry has always provided for me better results in conducting these difficult conversations. Trust is the starting point of solution crafting in this area. Making folks feel they're being psycho-manipulated is not a very good trust building technique. 

2. Saying THANKS and offering praise for good effort (and work) in stand-alone formatting is a marvelous and high yield strategy. The cost is low; the dividends are high. In fact, it's often the antecedent to that trust building thing... (and it makes both giver and receiver feel a little better).

(And, yes, I know I'm not in the main stream of thought on this subject. I'm fine with that....)

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