Not Everything is Awesome!

Here’s a great Ted talk for those of us that like to over support or over praise people!  It’s only about 6 minutes long and is pretty funny too, so is well worth a look.


The basic premise is we tend to devalue the real meaning of words by over using them or using them incorrectly.  From a leadership perspective this is very relevant as if you continually tell someone they are doing a ‘great’ job, when in fact there are things they could be doing differently you are potentially giving the individual a false picture of how well they are performing.  So when you get to their annual appraisal you shouldn’t be surprised if they have a different perspective to you, after all you’ve been telling them all year how great they are!


You are also devaluing any real praise you do give because people become desensitised to it if it’s always been given.  We remember a boss we both use to work for where everything and everyone was ‘brilliant’.  Because he never varied this word or used anything different, people use to feel like they weren’t appreciated, as in effect they stopped hearing ‘brilliant’,  it meant nothing because it was just another word he used all the time.


Just as she does in the video take some time to look up the dictionary definition of certain words you use a lot – you might be surprised.  For example, the definition of ‘great’ is: ‘considerably above average’, yet how many times do we use it as a throw away word?


As leaders we need to expand our repertoire and ensure we’re not overly reliant on one or two phrases.  We need to be able to recognise when we should be praising people and when a simple acknowledgement or ‘thanks’ will do the trick.  That way when we do offer praise to people it means so much more and is far more likely to have the impact we want it to have.  It also means people will have a clearer and more accurate picture of how they are performing.


Enjoy the video, and remember not everything is awesome!


Martin and Elizabeth

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