The Power of Chuck-Ups | Article by Loopin
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The Power of Chuck-Ups

5 Top Tips on How Managers Can Deliver Effective Praise to Boost Morale
by Ben Williams / March 14, 2023 / 3 min read
The Power of Chuck-Ups

A lot goes into leadership development and effectively upskilling managers. But there is a key ingredient that almost all courses and resources fail in highlighting effectively when it comes to developing managers and leadership skills. It is the power of praise and morale.

As a manager, giving out praise to employees can be just as challenging as supporting them. However, it's an essential aspect of leadership development, as recognition and praise can increase employee morale, motivation, and engagement.

Shockingly, 65% of employees feel like they don’t receive enough praise, and 72% get praise less than once per week. As a former Royal Marine Commando, I learned the power of praise in boosting morale and performance.

As marines, we call praise a “chuck-up”. The meaning derives from the days of old when British naval fleets fought in ferocious aquatic battles. With no radios or the ability to communicate by voice, commanders signalled between ships with flags. And when the fleet did well, the commander would raise the Bravo-Zulu flag, to signal to the rest of the ships a “well done”.

The saying goes, “chuck up the BZ flag”. Hence the term ‘chuck up’.

Anyway, history lesson over. As marines, though we are very well known for our discipline and tough mindset, I must admit, that a lot of it stems from the chuck-ups we received during tough moments, with exceptional timing.

When you are wet, cold, miserable and exhausted, and your angry sergeant who has been beasting you all week for your wrong doing’s, suddenly hands out praise for your efforts, you can’t help but feel good. It becomes a lift. It becomes motivation. It becomes morale. And what I learnt most about the marine's effective means of handing out praise, is down to two things: reason and timing.

Our high performance was hinged on morale. Without it, I don’t believe I would have got through my toughest moments.

But you don’t need mud, exhaustion, assault courses or battlefields to subject your employees to effective praise. You just need good timing and reason.

So I have complied five top tips on how managers can give effective praise to their employees, drawn from some of my own experiences both in and out of the military.

Tip 1: Be Specific

When giving praise, be specific about what the employee did well. Mention the task, project, or behaviour that you appreciated. This helps the employee understand exactly what they did well and encourages them to repeat the behaviour.

Tip 2: Be Timely

Don't wait too long to give praise. Timeliness is important because it shows the employee that you noticed their efforts and appreciated their work. The closer the praise is to the event, the more impactful it will be.

Tip 3: Be Sincere

Praise should come from a place of genuine appreciation. Avoid giving empty praise or praise that is not deserved, as it can come off as insincere and demotivating.

Tip 4: Be Personal

Different employees respond to different types of praise. Some may prefer public recognition, while others may prefer a private conversation. Take the time to understand what type of praise each employee responds to best.

Tip 5: Be Consistent

Praise should be given regularly and consistently, not just on special occasions. Employees who feel appreciated and recognized for their efforts are more likely to be motivated and productive in their work.

As a manager, knowing when, how, and who to praise is crucial to boost employee morale and performance. By following these five tips, you can create a culture of recognition and appreciation in your workplace.

Remember, giving praise is a powerful tool, and you don't need to get your employees cold and miserable to do it. When will you use your next "chuck-up"?

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