A managing director of a large media company (let’s call her Joanna) admitted that she never told people when they had done something well. Her reason? “That is what they’re paid for,” she explained.
If they were doing a satisfactory job, Joanna’s argument suggested, it seemed unnecessary to praise them. The view from the people who worked for her was likely to be quite different. They don’t know when they’ve done a good job because no one tells them. In search of approval, they keep trying new approaches, often ignoring successful ideas for others that have less chance of working.
So, what’s the best way to offer feedback? There are times when a quick “nicely done” is sufficient. However, if you want the impact of praise to last and you want a good chance at changing how a person does things in the future, then you would do well to follow the steps of the five-star praise model.
|1. Provide Context||If the praise isn’t given immediately, then it will help the person if you describe a bit of context. For example,||“The board meeting that you had prepared the report for took place yesterday afternoon.”|
|2. Be Specific||The more specific the praise, the more effective it is. By just saying “Thanks for the report; it was great,” you are not giving the person anything they can use and apply in the future. Was the report great because it was long, had pictures, started with a succinct summary, included questions for the reader to answer, or what? The best praise focuses on specifics. Again, find a balance. Simply telling the staff member (in the previous example) “Great report” might not be enough. But telling her “I particularly liked the way you listed out the contents alongside the diagrams in order” is possibly over the top.||“The report was just the right balance of data and analysis for the managers to digest in the board meeting.”|
|3. Describe the Impact||This is the part that motivates. When people understand the positive consequences of their behaviour, it’s a big incentive for them to repeat the good things they did. Again, a balance needs to be struck. Overstating the impact (e.g., “You saved my life by preparing such a great report”) will sound fake, and your praise will have significantly less impact–if any–because it almost sounds like you’re mocking the situation.||“After reviewing the report, it was easy for the managers to pick up on the key areas to focus on, you saved them hours of work which is not usually the case”|
|4. Reinforce their identity||This makes the person feel really good about themselves and/or their actions. You might say, “I have to compliment you. Not only was dinner delicious but to get that many interesting people together and make sure they were all served at the same time, as well as engage in conversation as the host, is simply impressive. That’s organisation and attention to detail at its finest.”||“I have to say I am impressed how you thought outside the box and redesigned the format for the team.”|
|5. Congratulate||This is usually the beginning, middle, and end of praising. It has a role but if it’s all you do, you get only one star. When your praise earns five stars, you know you’ve done it right. It takes practice. But it’s not like we all don’t have a bunch of people in our lives who deserve some praise right now.||“So thanks again and keep up the great ideas and hard work.”|
Think of a couple of situations in which you might praise someone and think about how to give them the full five-star praise effect.
Jot down the suggestions and confirm: Does the praise seem real? If it feels fake, think about another way of making your points.
If you can’t find anything to praise, then of course it’s possible that there isn’t anything the other person is doing well. However, it’s far more likely that you simply aren’t looking hard enough.
Praise if someone delivers something when they said they would, or even, possibly, when they are less late than usual. And don’t forget to mention the beneficial impact this punctuality has.
Positive feedback or 5 star praise can be used at with friends and family too. Give it go and see the results.
I’d love to hear the positive impacts for the workplace, parenting and relationships.
The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year.
We encourage people to look after their mental health all year round, but today is a great opportunity to consider the different ways that we can boost our wellbeing, and to start a conversation about mental health.
This week saw the launch of Every Mind Matters, a campaign from Public Health England and the NHS providing information and ideas for your wellbeing. It’s great to see so many people talking about mental health.
Here are some tips for looking after your wellbeing – this World Mental Health Day and beyond:
Physical activity can really help with keeping your mood positive. Even if you are very busy, find time to do some exercise you enjoy – we know it’s getting colder but consider hopping off the tube a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way, avoid the lift and take the stairs or sign up to an impromtu exercise class after work!
Get enough sleep
Often sleep is a casualty when we are stressed, anxious or depressed, but we know it is vital for our wellbeing. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine in the evening. Have some wind-down time before going to bed and try and keep to a regular sleep routine. Avoid looking at screens in bed, even mobile phones. Finally, consider your sleep environment (such as light, temperature and noise), and make sure it is comfortable and conducive to sleeping!
Give yourself space
If it’s all getting a bit hectic, take time out – even if it’s brief! Go for a walk, have a cuppa with a colleague (away from your desk), listen to music.
Eat regular meals
It can be tempting to overdo it but keeping your routine, eating plenty of fruit and veg, and drinking enough water will help keep stress at bay.
You are not alone! Stay connected to your sources of support and if you’re not sure where to turn, you’ll find details of some useful organisations here.
and most importantly… look out for each other!
Step 1 Briskly tap or massage on K-27 (kidney points). The points are located below our collarbone near our shoulder where it dips. This first step encourages that the body’s electrical energy moves in a positive forward direction.
You can choose to cross over your hands and arms to massage the points at the same time on opposite sides – this will help cross over our energies which move asymmetrically to heal and energise and will also cross over our right and left brain hemispheres.
Step 2 Now place both hands over the area at the bottom end of the central meridian – at your pubic bone.
Step 3 Take a deep breath in as you pull your hands slowly and deliberately, straight up in one continuous movement up the centre of your body to your lower lip. This pulls and traces the energy upwards.
This movement protects the central meridian and pulls energy upward
Make an affirmation as you are zipping up either in your mind or out loud such as; ‘I am safe, I am loved.’ Saying an affirmation whilst tracing your central meridian strengthens the central meridian and picks up your own thoughts and feelings as well as others affecting your energy. It can work in changing your beliefs and actions about and toward yourself and others, goals you want to achieve, and problems you want to resolve.
Exhale that breath and as you do keeping dragging the energy straight up over your face and above your head as far as your hands reach then circle out back downward in a large circle ending at the pelvis area.
This movement connects your energy and intention with your aura and universal energies.
Step 4 Repeat steps 2 and 3 three more times.
I cannot recommend this energy exercise enough. Not only has it helped me on numerous occasions when I was not feeling good, it has also helped my overall confidence over time. Friends and colleagues have noticed the changes and I have shared the exercise with them. Thanks so much Christine, you always know the best recommendations.
Used this exercise as I have difficult work relationships. All I can say is that it works!!!! Has made my days easier to manage. So simple. Thank you.
It is designed to give:
£75 per person. Delegates attending full session receive combined manual, workbook & certificate. Contact for group booking discounts.
We limit numbers to 25 people per course so that the instructor can keep people safe and supported while they learn. You will get a manual to keep and refer to whenever you need it. When you complete the session you’ll get a certificate to say you are Youth Mental Health Aware.
“ I learned to show more empathy, to have more confidence in asking questions and talking about mental health.”Recent delegates
Learning is a mix of presentations, group discussions & workshop activities.
Book a course Instructor – Christine Moran 07548 690170
As a Mental Health practitioner and trainer, the impact of poor mental wellbeing on a person’s ability to function is of prime focus. But what does society and employers consider this to look like in reality? Some may consider that this means difficulties and struggles for an individual with certain areas of their life. Others think that it means individuals suffer greatly or cannot function in society. Both can be true, but in fact, a large portion of individuals with poor mental health are seemingly able to ‘function well’ with little obvious negative impact. This is a common in the workplace, albeit very often hidden.
An individual can be really struggling while going through the motions of the day. Acting fine and appearing emotionally stable is at best a short term coping strategy. A generally accepted lifestyle where a person wakes up every day, looks presentable, takes care of stuff that needs to be taken care of, eats and goes to sleep can be done regardless of how you feel inside up to a point. To say it is difficult is an understatement, but it is not impossible.
High functioning individuals with poor mental wellbeing are likely to ‘look and act ok’ and therefore can be discriminated against by an easy disregard in terms of support and awareness. Individuals for example may not be taken seriously when they reach out and ask for help or experience a situation where it becomes more apparent that they are not coping. An individual may not experience being understood or they may be made to feel invalidated when they express difficult thoughts or feelings. Hidden or unsupported, the risk of worsening mental health symptoms, physical symptoms and all other associated negative impacts are likely to accumulate over time.
High-functioning people don’t continue on regardless because they want to fool others, they do it because they want to produce and be a part of society. The effort to; overcome symptoms, be ‘strong ‘, cope, not being a burden or failure and fit in with expectations can be enormous. The impact of ineffective support and understanding escalates the accumulative downward spiralling of mental ill health on the individual.
It can be extremely hard work for an individual to sustain ‘normality’, terrified of admitting poor mental health, and when they finally do and can be met with rejection, little understanding or empathy from employers or mental health professionals. So, when that employee who ‘always is ok’, acts of character, asks for help or admits to them self and to someone else their struggles, it has taken a lot of bravery.
If you are that person trying to cope, you are entitled to get support and agree on reasonable adjustments at work to accommodate your mental health challenges. The best advice is to trust you know yourself so much more than anybody else. Nobody has the right to undermine your difficulties in the workplace or when reaching out for professional assistance. If they do, it’s their issue. Keep looking for the person who listens to you and takes your feelings into account. There are many organisations you can guide you. Don’t feel demoralised or flawed. Employers have responsibilities and options to support you that do not have to be disruptive or costly, especially when conversations are early.
And if you are an work employer or professional in mental health I encourage you to take focused action to continue your work to open up awareness and conversations around this topic of poor mental health challenges for high functioning individuals in order to reduce stigmatisation and discrimination. Support and understanding is key which can reduce the wide reaching and sometimes devastating negative impacts of poor mental health on all levels. Creative, honest and ongoing mental health awareness and support in the workplace improves wellbeing, productivity and personal safety.
Contact Positive Energy Being to continue the conversation and improve on your commitment. Booking or more information:
Busy week at the launch of Mental Health Awareness week. Visit to the fab organisation @Lindengate planning future sessions, meeting new clients and delivering Adult 2 day MFHA @mhfaengland for @Restore_Hope. Get in touch with Christine to discuss individual or organisation Mental Health and Wellbeing needs.poster
EMAIL to receive your free downloadable poster copy of Empower Half Hour
Take the opportunity to book an Adult Mental Health First Aid course for your organisation. Contact for details of this time limited, one time only hugely subsidised offer of spaces through Positive Energy Being to train as a First Aider. Up to 16 delegates.
A police officer has spoken to the BBC to call for more people to talk about their mental health after he had a breakdown at work. PC Jim Morton, known as “Big Jim”, said he felt suicidal in 2015 because of personal reasons and working in such a demanding job. The 6ft 7ins tall officer said people do not expect men like him to suffer with their mental health. He said he is now one of Derbyshire Police’s “Blue Light Champions”, a mental health ambassador for the force.