We’re all inundated with the message that successful leaders give praise. Maybe praising other people even comes easily to you. But it’s important to remember that all of your congratulatory high-fives are not equally effective—or even welcome.
Flattery is about something that someone has no control over and did nothing to earn. Praise, however, acknowledges performance, behavior,
Flattery: “You’re a great dresser; you look like a leader.”
Praise: “You delivered a complex project on time and built solid relationships. That was first-class.”
Application: Praise is desirable but has to be earned to make a difference to the recipient. Flattery can leave people feeling
like a Cocker Spaniel who just received a pat on the head.