QUESTION: My manager does not praise my work, he keeps finding faults.
FACT: The manager might have a very high bar of expectations.
Everyone likes accolades, especially from the manager. At the same time, lack of such praise can be quite demoralizing. People in junior positions crave for appreciation more than those in senior positions. However, its sincere, not hollow, praise that is valuable to a person. There can be a situation where an employee feels that he has done well enough to be appreciated, while his manager doesn’t think so. Then there can be a situation’ where an employee, who is used to constantly being appreciated, takes his performance for and is shocked when he gets an ‘average’ appraisal rating. He may then complain, saying that he has a record of being constantly appreciated. So, managers have to be careful about lauding a person too often. Achievements should be praised, but a manager heeds to make sure that this does not set very high expectations of reward in the employee’s mind.
Then there are those managers who set their bar of expectations so high that they don’t easily part with words of appreciation. In such cases, the employee should ask himself whether he has done a good job; and if he is satisfied, he should take that as an achievement. Here, it’s self-motivation that will keep him going, even while he keeps having frequent dialogues with his manager, seeking feedback to improve.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE EMPLOYEE? Each manager has his own style; some are liberal with praise, while others are not. That does not mean that if your manager isn’t openly appreciative of your work, he is displeased with you. Yes, it would be nice if he were to praise you often, but you may be lucky that you have a manager who. is .really interested in your improvement, and so provides more critical feedback than praise. Take the feedback, prioritize it and work towards improvement. This will help more in the long run.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE MANAGER? You should understand that all team members are not at the same career level. Do not keep the same bar of performance for all, but base it on career levels. Juniors require a pat on the back more frequently. ‘Give praise where praise is due’ is an old, but useful, adage. If you are the kind who is prompt with praise, be prompt with criticism too when things haven’t gone too well. If you do one but not the other, that might lead to surprises during an appraisal.