Aliveatwork's Blog


Faux Praise … Faux Pas
November 8, 2012, 6:45 am
Filed under: Aliveness, Authentic Leadership, Joe Contrera | Tags: , , ,

Much has been written on the positive effect that praise can have on a person.

Whether it’s an employee, coworker, or your children, healthy praise can help a person to feel good.

Yet there doesn’t seem to be as much written about the negative impact that false praise can have on an individual. This typically happens when the intent is to manipulate or to selfishly serve the needs of the person who is giving praise.

Recently I listened to an audio book written by Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich) in 1938 entitled, Outwitting the Devil. It was held back from publication for 73 years because of what Hill wrote about the the church, the government, and the media. It was finally released in 2011 at a time when the challenges our country was facing in 1938 are eerily similar to those we are challenged with today.

In a later chapter Hill writes that one of the most powerful ways a person can drift  from their definite purpose in life and get off-course is if they have an inflated desire for praise and admiration. Hill labeled it as the ego of men and the vanity of women (the word metrosexual wasn’t invented yet).

Now regardless of whether or not you believe Hill is being sexist, the point here is that faux (fake) praise can lead you down a path to faux pas (mistakes).

Think about it … if a person’s sense of self worth and value is tied to external factors such as praise and admiration from others, they are setting themselves up to be redirected by those same outside factors. Some of the greatest con men who ever lived used faux praise as a powerful tool to mislead their victims.

So what about you? How is praise impacting your life?

3 Things Ask Yourself About Praise:

  1. Do I seek praise from others (external) so that I can feel a sense of sense of self worth and value (internal)? Granted everyone needs a pat on the back. However, if you don’t feel valuable on the inside nothing anybody can say from the outside will give your life meaning.
  2. Do I feel a differently when I receive praise from someone of the opposite sex?  Yes, we all like praise, but if you get a much bigger buzz off of a compliment from the opposite sex you might want to pay attention and ask yourself why?
  3. Do I ever give praise in order to manipulate others so that I can get what I want? A good rule of thumb here is to give praise to an individual with no strings attached. Simply give them the compliment and walk away. Hanging around and then asking for something in return will give the other person a sense that they are being manipulated.

Zig Ziglar once said, “If you’re sincere, praise is effective. If you’re insincere, it’s manipulative.”

And that’s all I have to say about that!

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