In all honesty, I’m a person who enjoys making people feel genuinely good about themselves and their successes regarding their hard work, effort, skill sets, grit, personality, and other natural talents that they bring to the table. I’m like a cheerleader—whether you made that touchdown, got that job promotion you’ve always wanted, won that highly-acclaimed award you’ve always striven for, or landed the job you’ve always been passionate about, my excitement radiates for you. When I see other people succeed, it makes me happy for them, because it shows that they have worked hard throughout the process of their achievement and was willing to overcome the rejections/failures that they knew they would be at risk for. I believe that hard work deserves to be noticed whether you say you like it or not, but I’m not a supporter of “sucking-up” either.

Through personal leadership experiences, I know that genuine positive reinforcement and praise works better than punishment, because dopamine, which is a released in the brain any time we hear something we like, is a powerful chemical.

According to a speaker and motivation expert, Chester Elton, he says, “the number one driver of employee engagement is opportunity and well-being. The number one driver of opportunity and well-being is recognition and appreciation.”

Let me stress though, that we shouldn’t be striving for success with the primary purpose of recognition, fame, and compliments. We should strive for success, because it’s simply the “right” thing to do for ourselves and the community. However, if we praise each other at the right time and place for a genuine reason, it’s truly amazing how we can lift and motivate each other together as a team.

Meili West currently serves as a Organizational Development Specialist for SOS Leadership. She is a student at St. Edward’s University where she will graduate in December.

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