“Praise Publicly, Correct Privately” is a leadership technique that helps leaders establish a culture of trust and effectively communicate with their team members. I first learned the concept decades ago when I read, The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. Praise Publicly, Correct Privately changed the way I lead others. In fact, it changed the way I interact with the world. Praise Publicly, Correct Privately isn’t just good leadership advice; it’s also just common sense. But sometimes common sense isn’t all that commonly practiced…
I witnessed a situation today that runs counter to Praise Publicly, Correct Privately. Calling out someone in front of a group, especially when you are in a position of power, does not reflect on the person being shamed as much as it reflects on the person doing the shaming. It is astonishing how quickly positive energy and enthusiasm can dissolve into awkward silence and injured retreat. Repair can certainly happen, but it’s hard to “unhear” public shaming. A high-performing team has plenty of room for light-hearted jokes. But how do you know when the line is crossed from light-hearted to heavy-handed? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the difference. Thoughts to begin the conversation:
When people are praised for their work in front of others, it can have a powerful effect on their motivation and productivity. On the other hand, when people are criticized for their work in front of others, it can be demotivating and damaging to their self-esteem.
The key to effectively using this technique is to understand when and how to use it. When praising a team member, it is important to be specific and to highlight their specific contributions to the team. For example, instead of simply saying “good job,” it is more effective to say “I really appreciate how you took the lead on that project and made sure it was completed on time.” This type of specific feedback helps the team member understand what they did well and how they can continue to improve.
When correcting or giving feedback/feedforward to a team member, it is important to do so privately and in a constructive manner. This means that the criticism should be focused on specific areas of improvement and should be delivered in a way that is designed to help the team member learn and grow. For example, instead of saying “you did a bad job,” it is more effective to say “I noticed that you struggled with X and I think it would be helpful if we worked together to improve this area.”
Praise Publicly, Correct Privately helps to create a positive and supportive work environment. When people feel that their work is appreciated and that they are being given constructive feedforward, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. Additionally, this technique can help to improve communication and trust between team members and leaders.
I would love to hear your ideas on Praise Publicly, Correct Privately.