If you are a leader, Make sure you give props.

Postby chevisw » December 5th, 2012, 10:26 am


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Just a friendly reminder to those designers out there that are mentoring / leading / managing other people, that giving props for a job well done is extremely important.

At my mid point in my career i have become use to not always getting praise but instead relying on self satisfaction on knowing i do a good job. But last night at 10pm after sending out an update internally for a presentation that will take place today one of the VP's simply replied "just WOW!"

and to be honest it was a phenomenal way to end a night after working a 16 hour day.

Re: If you are a leader, Make sure you give props.

Postby NURB » December 5th, 2012, 1:50 pm

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Having worked for a company where you were made to feel as if you were lucky to have the job, let alone made to feel like you were any good at it, this is very important.

A small comment like that goes a long way in building confidence and building a good team. People can get pretty discouraged if they pour out hard work day after day, only to see it get brushed off like it's what they're supposed to be doing anyway.
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Those who define design as knowing how to use Illustrator will be condemned to using Illustrator their entire career. - @Mike_FTW

Re: If you are a leader, Make sure you give props.

Postby yo » December 5th, 2012, 2:33 pm

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I agree 100%. Always recognize the team. In my role I'm always receiving praise that is due to my team. It is important to always deflect the compliment to the specific individuals on my team. That way when I ask for raises or promotions for the, people are clear why ;-)

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Well said. Related/likewise, as a consultant, it feels great to hear from my clients when they are happy. Yes, I'm doing my job, and you're paying me, but a quick note "hey, great job on the design, you knocked it out of the park!" really goes a long way.

I have some clients that I know are happy, but I never hear anything, and others that tell me they are happy for almost everything (except when they aren't - so I know they aren't lying). Guess which ones I'm more likely to hussle for a difficult deadline for? :)

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Re: If you are a leader, Make sure you give props.

Postby iab » December 5th, 2012, 3:49 pm


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I agree it is extremely important, but is just as important to know when and how to give praise. And as it turns out, that is the rub. There is a fine line between sincerity and platitude.

The key is to have a good relationship with the individual to know what/when/and how something is said.

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I prefer the overly sarcastic comments that everything I do is terrible.

A backhanded complement is still a complement no? :oops:

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Great point. Thanks for reminding me of this, after a crazy crazy day.

Re: If you are a leader, Make sure you give props.

Postby yo » December 5th, 2012, 10:41 pm

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iab wrote:I agree it is extremely important, but is just as important to know when and how to give praise. And as it turns out, that is the rub. There is a fine line between sincerity and platitude.

The key is to have a good relationship with the individual to know what/when/and how something is said.


Of course. The ability to let someone know when they are blowing it is very important. People deserve to be hit over the head with a baseball bat when they do something that is not up to snuff. It also makes the praise that much sweeter. Also, when somebody does something awesome, that person deserves to be praised highly, it will also be the new level of expectation that all of their other work will be held to. There is no finish line.

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Something I learned very quickly: all business is personal at some point.
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I'm going to play devils advocate here....because I'm not one that needs praise. I know when I do we'll and when I mess up.

So, what's the psychology behind this?

To that note....have any of you, other than when a cheque is handed to you, thanked your employer or told them they've done a good job?

I'm not against praise, or the idea that a pat on the back is needed. But it is typically a very one way street. The designer in me asks, Why?

Re: If you are a leader, Make sure you give props.

Postby chevisw » December 6th, 2012, 12:16 pm


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I have thanked my VPS' or bosses on various occasions, for their support and or guidance, along with the support they provide to the dept.

I grew up with very little positive reinforcement if any, so as an adult i have come to need very little of it, but i have learned that there are many people out there that do require the positive reinforcement and with it they strive to grow and develop. keeping in mind that it needs to be balanced and not just needles flattery....

Jon, you state that "you" know when you do well..... but what happens if you think you do well but someone disagrees..... do you simply dismiss their opinion or do you strive to understand were the difference in view point is coming from? I have seen many people take the approach, of I don't care if you think i do a good job or not because I know what i do. We just went through evaluations and one employee rated themselves as 4's across the board (highest number / best score) and when his numbers didn't match up with our VP's and my assessment his response was "they are just numbers and don't mean anything, I know the type of job i do..... With this attitude he has grown at a very slow rate through his career.....

Re: If you are a leader, Make sure you give props.

Postby yo » December 6th, 2012, 12:22 pm

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Talk to the human in you not the designer in you. ;-)

Praise is about acceptance, and humans want to be accepted by nature (most of us, not you lone wolfs). In general we are pack animals. Acceptance of praise is about a warm fuzzy. The designer in me thinks it is not necessary, I used to be angry with myself for feeling better after receiving praise. After all the work was the same before and after the compliment right? But people don't work this way, and to maximize your potential as a designer is to understand how people work.

RE: Have I ever praised my employer for anything other than a paycheck? Absolutely! For may reasons. People in authority rarely get praise. You think they do, but more often than not they are getting the brunt of the problems, and if they are worth their salt, they are taking the hit square on the jaw and not passing the buck down hill. So they are getting beat up from above. From the people below them they rarely get thanks (other than for a paycheck) and often get complaints. So I always made it a point to give praise to my bosses when they did something over and above, like covering for one of my screw ups (which are frequent mind you) or fighting for a design beyond the expected. Also, to GIVE praise is a sign of the alpha. Typically giving praise to someone shows you are in a position to recognize their good and bad deeds. Giving praise to a superior shifts the conversation from one of authority to subordinate to a peer to peer level of recognition.

The key is to only use praise accurately so it has meaning. When employed to its fully, you can use praise as a critique. Praising a specific aspect of a project but nothing else lets people know the rest needs work. Praising one employee for a specific task publicly helps everyone understand the level of expectations. This is why when we give trophies to all the kids, it doesn't reinforce anything.

Don't think like a designer, BE a designer but think like a person. Things work out better ;-)

Check out the book "Why We Cooperate"

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+1 for Yo! I wanted to write the same thing when I read Jon's comments.

I've found praise to be a very rare commodity for everyone in business. Everyone wants to be tough and be "results oriented". That turns you into a d***.

Only at my current job, I've thanked my boss and told him when he's done something great. Naturally, I'm like Chevis (I think, although I was praised ALOT as a kid). I don't require much praise and don't give it out. The last few years though, I've realized how hard everyone else around me is working. That should demand some praise.

The change is something that I'm working on for myself. I think it was something holding my potential back a bit.
Ray Jepson

"L'homme n'est rien. L'œuvre c'est tout." Gustave Flaubert

Re: If you are a leader, Make sure you give props.

Postby yo » December 6th, 2012, 1:43 pm

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Side note, Ray, who said that quote in your signature?

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Yo!: That was me. A couple months ago, I listened to an interview with the architect Will Alsop. He mentioned how he was one of the few architects left to use a mathematical basis to the proportion of his buildings (like the golden ratio). He said he thought that if local building codes would enforce proportion it might make better architecture instead of creating maximum heights for buildings or all of those other stupid zoning/building code requirements.

My take is the industrial designers viewpoint. Everyone is blogging about 3D printing making a revolution. I think it will likely lead to a lot of horrible looking things, unless people actually learn about proportion, color, line, surfacing and all of those other difficult things that it takes to actually make a good looking product.

Image

This is Will Alsop's Ontario School of Art and Design in Toronto. Classic, restrained and well proportioned.
Ray Jepson

"L'homme n'est rien. L'œuvre c'est tout." Gustave Flaubert

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