As a leader in your company/organization, it’s important to dispense praise when appropriate. Why? The move helps you build trust and authority at the same time.
It’s easy to say “Nice job!” or “Great going!” and leave it at that. But the best leaders understand they must take the compliment a step further. They need to provide deeper explanation on why the hard work stood out.
The what and the why: essential details for leaders up and down an organizational chart.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you noticed your employee go above and beyond for a customer. Whether in person, over the phone or through an email, follow the what/why formula.
You: Hi Brian, I want to thank you for how you treated that stubborn client yesterday from Acme Corporation.
Brian: Oh, thanks. It was no big deal. Just doing my job.
You: No, I saw how tough he was about the tri-fold brochure we designed. He made multiple changes after we showed him a final proof. But you kept your cool and made sure he was happy in the end. Acme is a big account for us so thank you for the extra effort.
Brian: Absolutely. I knew if I stayed calm we would resolve the problem.
You: Yep, exactly.
Did you see the what and the why?
What incident/situation took place
What: …multiple changes after we showed him a final proof.
Why did the employee’s extra effort matter?
Why: Acme is a big account for us so thank you for the extra effort.
As in all writing scenarios, the details make the difference. A deeper explanation (what/why) gives the compliment greater significance and strengthens your position as a leader — especially with the employee you praised.
It’s no enough to tell someone “Nice work!” Provide the reason for the praise, and your leadership skills will grow before your eyes.