It seems the natural thing to do.

When our team members (or children) succeed, we praise their ability or talent. 'That's great. You're obviously very good at problem-solving', or, 'Well done, you're very good with clients'.

What's wrong with praising their ability?

Praising ability can negatively impact performance

The research tells us that it's likely to reduce their performance. Many people become anxious about proving that we are justified in our lavish praise. Others assume that because they have 'natural' talent, they don't need to work at improving.

It's not what the self-esteem movement wants to hear, but many studies over many years have shown that praising ability or talent makes people less motivated, confident and resilient to setbacks.

What's a better approach to praise?

Instead, praise effort. 'I appreciated the effort you put into fixing the problem. You were very persistent and determined', or, 'I liked the way you kept calm with that customer and treated her with respect'.

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