Why Don’t We Praise and Appreciate?

Why Don’t We Praise and Appreciate?

After concluding one of my training workshops I was returning home from the Delhi airport. My daughter had also joined me as she too was returning from the same city after concluding one of her professional assignments.

We decided to hail an ‘Ola’ cab. The cab arrived promptly; the driver immediately got out of the cab and helped us with our luggage. The cab was clean and well maintained.  The driver showed us his device at the start and then at the end of the trip. He was well behaved and drove carefully. All in all it was a good trip. As the trip ended the ‘App’ on my smartphone showed the fare automatically deducted from my ‘wallet’. And on my accepting the debit, the App prompted me to rate the ride giving option of rating on a scale of five. I just had to select the number of stars that I wanted to give the ride (and the driver). Being happy with the ride I was about to punch four stars when my daughter asked me a simple question “Papa what should the driver have done to deserve a five on five star rating from us?”Honestly I couldn’t figure out any reason. None whatsoever! Still I did not even think a five star rating. Why?

Why is that we are so miser with praise and appreciation? That also reminded me of my discussion with one of my team members who is an exceptional trainer; about her frustration when even after a fantastic workshop some of those participants who would be going gaga about her workshop, the methodology right through the workshop would eventually not be able to give the ‘five’ rating.  Please note I have mentioned,“not be able to give”. I mean that if someone was to ask them the way my daughter had asked me “Dear participant what should the trainer have done to deserve a five on five star rating from you?”, they would soon discovertheir ability to give the five rating as I did. Isn’t it strange that otherwise this ‘ability’ remains dormant in us?

This brings me to the same question – why are we so miser with the praise?

Let me discuss my experience of one of our training activities ‘Appreciation Kho-Kho’. In this we ask the participants to sit in a circle and pass kho-kho of appreciation to each other – only appreciation… no criticism and no prescription and judgement!

And typically I find two key behaviours…. One – the participants are comfortable of talking about the person receiving appreciation as he/she but become uncomfortable when they are asked to give appreciation directly to the person they would like to appreciate as ‘you’. Secondly though the participants invariably take time to warm up to the idea of giving appreciation to the others, once they start then they just roll. Sometimes this session runs for hours.

In conclusion I ask you the same three questions that I ask the participants in the debrief of the ‘appreciation kho-kho’

  1. How did you feel when you appreciated someone?
  2. How did you feel when you received the appreciation from someone?
  3. Isn’t it strange that something that we felt good in giving as well as in receiving, we don’t do more often?