With the festive season fast approaching, one of the most valuable Christmas gifts you can give your team is meaningful praise for a job well done. Taking the time to give positive feedback doesn’t cost a penny but can have a massive impact on people’s levels of motivation and sense of wellbeing. If you’re looking to inspire and motivate your team to go the extra mile, follow the three steps below to show your appreciation and give praise in a meaningful way.

Be specific

For praise to be truly meaningful, you need to root it in a set time and place. Use clear language to set the scene so you can be specific about what they have achieved and the positive impact it had.  Avoid general comments, such as, “you are a good communicator.” It is far more powerful to say, “I was particularly impressed by the way you landed your key messages at our last conference.” Whenever possible give you feedback directly – it will be more meaningful if they receive it straight from the horse’s mouth. Don’t just focus your attention on the tasks they do well, such as pulling off a big deal, remember to shout out examples of good behaviours and hard work. Maybe they role-modelled high levels of emotional intelligence by handling conflict well and diffusing a potentially tricky situation or perhaps they took the time to mentor someone in their team.

Consider different personality types

Dial up your emotional intelligence to understand how people with different personality types like to receive praise. Some people are happy to receive public praise and high five in the office, others prefer being pulled aside for a quiet conversation. As a general rule, extroverts like to share their achievements with others, whereas introverts prefer a low-key approach. Draw on your empathy to recognise the other person’s communication style and flex your own accordingly. Adapt your choice of language and tone of voice to give praise and recognition in the most meaningful way to them.

Be unpredictable

Don’t just give praise during an annual review or as part of a ‘feedback sandwich.’ Try to do it frequently and in a timely way. It will seem more sincere this way – rather than as part of an official process. You should ideally give praise as near to the event in question as possible. It will be much more meaningful and will motivate the other person to keep raising the bar as they will know their hard work is valued and appreciated.

As Christmas is a time for giving, start as you mean to go on. By making a habit of giving meaningful praise in a specific and timely way, you will reap the rewards of a more engaged and motivated team in 2023.