Praise is so ingrained in us, so much a part of social fabric that we seldom, if ever consider its risks. But it does have risks, as all Roadblocks do. People erroneously assume that everyone likes to be praised. Not so. People often feel uncomfortable or embarrassed by praise. Have you ever noticed the body language of people being praised? They may blush, hang their heads, scrape their feet, or squirm. Then they may deny or discount it. Sometimes people become suspicious of the person doing the praising, questioning his or her motives. “What does she want? What is he getting at? What kind of pitch is this?”
Praise is judgment (you did a good job, etc.) and the act of judging implies expertise and establishes the judge’s superiority. Thus, praise implies an inequality between the person judging and the person or event being judged.
Unless we are using praise to manipulate or shape behavior its purpose is positive feedback, sharing pleasure, relief, happiness and a host of other good feelings related to positive behaviors … which can be accomplished without the risks of praise by sending positive, I like it when, I appreciate it when I-messages.
Interested in reading a bit more? Here you go: