How to Properly Praise Someone

Never forget to praise those who inspire you and motivate you. It can be the little things like their smile or their sense of humor that makes them an invaluable asset to your life, not just a co-worker or friend.

Praising someone for their work is a very important thing. It can make them feel good about themselves and it can motivate them to do more of the same. Read more in detail here: how to praise someone for their work.

Vintage man receiving praise workplace.

Editor’s note: We recently discussed how to provide constructive criticism in a manly manner. It’s also important to know how to provide appropriate compliments. So Tom Cox is going to give us a crash course on how to accomplish it today.

Tom Cox is a Beaverton, Oregon-based consultant, author, and speaker. He has worked in almost every corporate and public sector company, improving any process that includes people. His weekly radio show “Tom on Leadership” may be found here, as well as his blog.

Praise is one of the most potent kinds of human communication. We are surrounded by chances to utilize it — in cooperation, the job, family life, volunteering, and even dog training — and it works wonders when we use it correctly.

Effective praise has the ability to improve someone’s performance indefinitely. It has the potential to drastically change a person’s self-image or perhaps their life path. At the very least, it will brighten their day.

At the same time, giving inappropriate praise at the wrong moment or in the wrong way may be more than ineffective – it can be disastrous.

Once you’ve mastered a few fundamental ideas, you’ll be able to provide genuinely effective praise every time – you’ll be able to praise like a man.


Basic Praise (Phase 1)

At a minimum, your compliments should always contain the following three elements:

  • The name of the person you’re complimenting
  • What exactly did you see them do, and when and where did it happen?
  • Sincerity

Their name – you should always refer to someone by their first name since it shows respect. In most people’s ears, the sound of their own name is the loveliest word. And addressing me by my first name indicates that you are familiar with my name and have taken notice of me. Being recognized is one of the greatest desires of the human psyche. When you begin a statement with someone’s name, you’re off to a good start.

The details – nonspecific praise might come out as dishonest. People may often oppose your praise when you begin to praise more – they will say things like “that was nothing” or “I was simply doing my job.” And maybe they don’t believe they deserve praise, or they think you’re attempting to influence them deep down. You may get over their reluctance and gain their confidence if you are really detailed.

Compare and contrast the following two statements:

“Hey, you did a great job yesterday.”


“Hey Jim,” I said. I was particularly pleased with you yesterday – I noted you had that large stack of orders to handle at three o’clock, and when I returned at four o’clock, you had done them all. “Wow, that was some fantastic work.”

If Jim has trouble taking compliments, the first statement is unlikely to work. The second statement, on the other hand, shows Jim three things: that you recognize him, that you observed and recognized what he was doing, and that you approve of what he did. You may assist Jim give himself permission to believe you by anchoring your praise with particular time, location, and other specifics.


Sincerity – only ever offer compliments something you really believe in. Undeserved praise is nothing more than flattery. A true gentleman does not play with people’s emotions or give fake or hollow compliments. Consider a period when you received praise from someone you admired. You cherished the compliment because you respected the person who bestowed it. And you cherished that compliment because you believed the person who gave it was sincere.

As you mature as a man, you will become more and more the kind of guy whose opinion is appreciated by others. And the value of your positive opinion will be proportional to how much the audience respects and believes you. (Never attempt to fake sincerity; the worst that can happen is that you succeed and become adept at it, eroding your integrity, which is the bedrock of real manliness.)

This component of honesty may be a big stumbling point when I’m teaching folks how to offer good compliments. Respect it if it is. Be more aware of your surroundings. When you are aware that you are battling with honesty, you are also aware that you may begin to build genuine sincerity. Consider the person you’d want to congratulate. Allow yourself to notice what they are doing correctly. Allow yourself to experience a genuine sense of gratitude for what they’re doing. Once you’ve tapped into that genuine sensation of gratitude, you may express it with honesty.

And when you praise someone, you’re making a moral statement. If you don’t know what excellent work is, you won’t be able to express true appreciation for it. When you know which route is correct, you can only commend someone for choosing it. A true gentleman understands the difference between right and wrong and is not hesitant to stand up for what is right. Praise that is both polite and effective is an excellent strategy to promote the right.

Phase 2: Extensive Praise

You may go to a more sophisticated kind of praise after you’ve mastered the basics. This is where effective praise may genuinely make a difference in someone’s life.

Stop and ask yourself, “What is the good character attribute that must exist within that person for them to have shown this behavior?” before you say anything kind.

This is often the most difficult lesson I teach regarding praise, so treat it with care. I’ll hand out a list of over 100 good character qualities during workshops, and everyone will have time to look through it to choose one that matches the situation. Having a thesaurus on hand may be beneficial. A good character feature may range from honesty to compassion, from hard effort to having a positive attitude, and from customer attention to teamwork.

You add that good character characteristic to the end of your praise after you’ve identified the positive character trait that caused the positive conduct you saw:

“Hey Jim,” I said. I was particularly pleased with you yesterday – I noted you had that large stack of orders to handle at three o’clock, and when I returned at four o’clock, you had done them all. You put forth a lot of effort and were quite focused. I like being on a team with someone who is as focused as you are.”


A number of things will occur. If the individual is prone to resisting, they may do so more forcefully. They could not trust you if your information aren’t detailed enough. And if you’re not sincere, they’ll know it right away and feel misled or exploited. If you’ve done everything well, if you’ve been attentive, if you’ve paid attention to the details, if you’ve been real, you’re giving them a peek of their finest self through your eyes.

I am certain that none of us will continually act in ways that are fundamentally incompatible with our own self-image. Everyone’s conduct will tend to normalize — or cluster around — what they anticipate from themselves. When you offer someone advanced praise in a genuine and sincere manner, you are providing them the chance to improve their self-image.

Jim may not have thought of himself as a very focused person. Perhaps he even believed he was lacking in that area. You, on the other hand, watched him behaving in a very concentrated manner with your own eyes. When you tell him that and call it “concentrate,” he virtually doesn’t have a choice. You’ve presented the facts and are speaking honestly. He must acknowledge, at some level, the notion that he is a focused person or capable of acting in a focused manner. He didn’t think of himself that way when he woke up that morning. He may now see himself standing with a giant “F” on his breast, indicating that he is Focused Man, thanks to your appreciation.

It’s difficult to overestimate how life-changing something can be. The proper word of praise and encouragement, uttered into the ear of someone who needs it and is ready, may unleash their human potential under the appropriate conditions.

A Warning

Praise is powerful, but it can also be hazardous. If you offer someone praise they don’t believe they deserve, they may feel more worse than if you hadn’t said anything at all, and they may begin to believe you are ignorant. Similarly, criticizing or nitpicking someone who believes they did a good job may be very discouraging.

So, proceed with caution and practice. A real guy knows how to balance power and responsibility. As you progress in manhood, you’ll notice that effective praise flows naturally to your lips and honestly from your heart.



The “good words to praise someone” is a guide on how to properly praise someone. It includes things like what compliments are appropriate and when it is best to give them.

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