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Praise and the Brain:

Posted in: July 11, 2021 By: Bernadette Marie Wilson

Improve Employee Performance with Praise

The more that we learn about the human brain, the more that we are astounded by its complexity. One of the brain’s interesting factors is how social interaction affects physical functions and overall attitudes. Research has shown that the power of praise creates a positive response that extends to enhanced feelings of competence, improved motor skill performance, and increases motivation. These reactions transcends all age groups and genders. Research results demonstrate that when you add praise to employees in a work environment, there is a defined improvement in general attitude, which translates to better customer service.

Science Shows Humans Love Praise

A recent study measured the brain scans of participants who received compliments. The results showed that the praise activated the same areas of the brain that create positive feelings when someone receives a physical reward such as the gift of money. Examples of this often happen when individuals do “good deeds” for others and receive compliments and praise while refusing any monetary reward.  

Praise Helps to Improves Skills

Compliments in the workplace can go farther than most might think. Enhanced learning and improved performance can occur when encouragement and praise is given to co-workers. Something as simple as a compliment can bring a positive outlook that the brain not only wants, but remembers. For example, a 2012 study showed that those who received praise when trying out a new skill allowed the brain to remember the skill and accomplish it better. Since learning occurs during sleep, the compliments of “skill consolidation” during the striatum activation resulted in improvements in the activity. 

Happy Employees Can Mean Better Customer Service

Although we still have a lot more to find out about the mysteries of the human brain, positive reinforcement can raise the level of employee fulfillment carries great importance. Establishing a company environment that involves staff recognition by praise and compliments can spread to improved customer interaction. In today’s competitive world, customer service excellence has become a high-level priority. Organizations that demonstrate a positive approach to their clients are also achieving the most success.  A Gallup poll title of “Engage Your Employees to See High Performance and Innovation” validates the concept of praise and content employees. The results of the poll show a 147% earnings per share increase over competitors for companies that have happier staff. 

Customer Service Rules

A PWC survey indicated that 80% of customers stated that a company’s agents have the most significant impact on the customer experience. Those surveyed said that areas such as knowledgeable, fast help, and friendly representatives rated as some of the most critical factors. Another survey done by Salesforce showed that 91% of customers said good service would make them more likely to purchase from a company again. Yet another survey done by Gartner was so crutial that they entitled the report “Customer Experience is the New Battlefield.” This survey showed that 89% of business competition is now based on the level of service delivered to customers and not just on the services and products offered. 

Valuing Employees

Just as the job landscape has made some dramatic shifts over the last few years, so has the approach to maintaining customer service excellence. While it might sound like common sense that compliments would result in more content employees, managers have often overlooked this one simple way to “light up the brain.” In a business environment, words do matter, and with a small amount of praise, a company can witness improved motivation and attitudes. A Harvard studyshowed that managers that focused on employee strengths had over double the worker engagement as those businesses that paid more attention to employee weaknesses. When compliments are combined with requests for feedback (rather than criticism) staff feel that they are more valued. 

Psychotherapist and relationship expert Rachel Sussman indicates that compliments are a universal human need: “People just want to be recognized and appreciated for the good that they do. It makes them feel really good about that person who complimented and about themselves.” This philosophy carries over into all aspects of life and is especially important in the work environment. 

Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

Posted in: September 10, 2018 By: Bernadette Marie Wilson

Today I want to share with you all the importance of developing a plan and tracking progress towards it.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you download my e-book on Becoming Extraordinary. You can download it by entering your email here. You’ll find blog posts here to further unpack each section and give it to you in bite-sized pieces. I look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Planning Through History

Let’s start by going back in history. While these days, the hectic and busy nature of our lives may make it seem close to impossible sometimes, planning has been going on for what feels like forever. Think back to Imhotep (2667-2600 BCE). If you aren’t familiar with this name, he was the architect of the Step Pyramid of Saqqara, Egypt. This is the oldest pyramid in Egypt, and it is still standing today. Think about the planning that had to go into this success. He lived in a world with no “how-to” guide, no Internet search engines, and no textbooks. He used his intelligence and ability to plan to construct this monumental accomplishment.

Pat Riley’s Success

You might be thinking, “How does this apply to me?” Well, think of a plan you have now or one that is in the works. Whether you’re planning your next move or simply your next vacation, mapping out the road to your goals is essential. I want to encourage you today to build a chart for your progress. Write down your goals for where you want to be in the next six months, in the next year, and even down the road up to 20 years. In my e-book, I shared a quote by Pat Riley, the successful coach behind the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Nicks. He states, “plan your work, work your plan.” This can be applicable in all areas of our lives. Pat Riley was successful…and you can be too! In fact, you can be extraordinary.

Measuring Progress

Once you’ve got your plan, let’s talk progress. Progress can be measured in tiny amounts or in huge steps. If the goal is small, use small steps. Note little victories and successes along the way. If your goal is large, create goals along your timeline. These goals will vary, and remember – they can change. Just because you make a goal or plan at one point in your life doesn’t mean it is static. Leave it flexible, and give it room to grow if necessary.

Measuring Goals

I also shared a quote from Peter Drucker, who found success as a management consultant. His phrase, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure” speaks to me in this situation. You have to have a goal to measure. You have to pinpoint points along your journey that will allow you to manage your time and goals effectively and efficiently.

Channeling Your Energy

Now, let’s focus on the energy behind your goals. I want you to learn how to insert creative energy into your work and into achieving those goals that have been set. Do this through documenting your ideas to meet your goals and allow yourself to reel in the energy to make them happen. Share ideas with others and get the ideas down on paper. This also frees up room in the brain for other thoughts. It unclutters your brain and leaves room for creativity, more ideas, and improved clarity. Allow yourself, and your brain, some breathing room! You reward is increased creative thoughts and more “out-of-the-box” thinking.

Recording progress also causes an increase in your belief in yourself and your capabilities. You will learn to move past setbacks, to push through major or small disturbances, and to keep your eyes focused ahead. Writing progress down makes it tangible. Support yourself and allow yourself the chance to recognize positives and progress. Your work has been planned, and now you can plan to work.

For more insights on how to remove barriers and get unstuck, take a look around my website. I’d also love to discuss how my services can work for you!

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