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To praise or not to praise

chandigarh Updated: Nov 24, 2014 20:59 IST
Parminder Kaur
Parminder Kaur
Hindustan Times
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Does appreciating someone elicit better behaviour and a more amicable relation or does it bolster the ego and lead to snobbery? Are you generous with praise or do you withhold this generosity fearing adverse results?

To praise or not to praise is a common dilemma I have seen others (myself included) struggle with, not only on a professional front but in their personal lives as well.

Right from childhood, parents make their kids feel special by complimenting their innocent antics. Most of us have been a patient audience to ‘Beta (my child), recite that new poem you learnt in class today or show that new dance move to aunty’.

This adulation comes straight from a parent’s heart and motivates kids to excel in life. But if a child is overfed with huge doses of appreciation, it might just lead to a superiority complex steeped in falsehood.

My son holds me guilty of not acknowledging his intelligence more often. My defence is that I don’t want him to become lackadaisical in his efforts to progress. To praise or not to praise is the dilemma!

This dilemma is also apparent in the sweet and sour relationship between a daughter-inlaw and mother-in-law, where neither wants to lose the battle of supremacy. One, it would be against the expected behavioural norms, and second, it would elevate the pride-o-meter and imbalance the already sensitive power quotient between the two.

Rarely would you find a mutual admiration club in this domain. However, if either of them lets their guard down and showers a few petals of appreciation on the other, it will surely make the relationship more amicable. On the contrary, it may give birth to arrogance and incite vanity. To praise or not to praise, again, a dilemma!

And here comes the most blatant exhibition of this predicament — the battlefield called workplace. There seems to be a constant conflict between the sense and sensibility of bosses. Sensibility acclaims a subordinate’s accomplishment but sense restrains the tongue to do so. Why? There are so many genuine reasons. What if the praise goes to the employee’s head (like oxygenated blood) and makes him snooty and sloppy? Dreadful of all, what if he or she becomes delusional and demands a raise or promotion?

In sharp contrast, many companies have a policy of periodical employee appraisal and believe in rewarding employees in the form of monetary incentives and awards. Now, who is better, an indulgent and appreciating boss or an admiration-challenged boss? Ah well, the dilemma continues!