Society’s standards have changed greatly since my childhood. In centuries past, children were expected to perform certain chores and to achieve different goals, and no fuss was made when tasks were completed. Praise was meted out for extraordinary accomplishments, not for jobs that were expected of them.
We’re now living in a “feel-good” society where people expect praise for merely doing their job. It’s not enough to thank someone; if you don’t also praise him for doing what he was hired to do, the level of customer service you receive is greatly reduced.
It took a while for me to realize that I had to do more than thank an employee for his or her help; I was expected to lavish praise on him if he did something extra . . . still part of his job, but a couple of minutes more than he was accustomed to doing.
In all these years, after I have praised an employee’s efforts, I have only heard a few of them tell me that they were just doing their job. Those few were right. They were only doing their job but experience has shown me that people want ridiculous amounts of praise for doing what they were hired to do.
I have always believed in giving credit where credit is due and for praising someone for a job well done, especially when they go that extra mile. However, I have never believed in praising someone where praise was not merited, so it bothers me when I hear parents telling their children they did a great job when you can see they did a sloppy job for their age and their skill sets.
The same holds true for employees. I’ll be the first to speak to an employee’s supervisor to commend their employee for being a credit to their company, but I’ll also be the first to report an employee who gave terrible customer service.
I just don’t see the value in telling people they are doing a fantastic job when, clearly, they are not. I also don’t see the point in telling someone they did a terrible job without telling them where they fell down and how to correct it.
In order for feedback to be of any value for children and adults, alike, it should be honest and constructive; if it’s not both, then it serves no purpose.