A Simple Compliment Can Make a Big Difference – Harvard Business Review (Erica Boothby, et al | February 2021)

An African-American man in a wheelchair high fives a woman with a desk between them
Establishing a positive organizational culture, one in which employees and managers support one another, should be a top priority for organizations. Expressing praise and gratitude is particularly important for keeping up morale. Gratitude makes people feel valued, and positive feedback has been shown to mitigate the negative effects of stress on employee performance. Neuroscientists have even shown that the brain processes verbal affirmations similarly to financial rewards. As Alan Mulally, former CEO of Ford, has been quoted as saying of his employees, “It’s all about appreciating them, respecting them and thanking them at every step of the way.” While the importance of expressing praise and gratitude for establishing a positive organizational culture is clear, our research suggests that people may not follow Mulally’s advice because they underestimate the positive impact of kind words on others.

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