When Lots of Praise Backfires

With some office environments being completely toxic, it should feel like a relief to land in one where everyone is kind to each other. But it can go south as well. Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.

The Wall Street Journal took on the growing trend of having people give positive feedback to their peers. It sounds fabulous–who wouldn’t want more praise? And Slack (full disclosure: Inc. writers and editors communicate via Slack), even allows you to send virtual tacos to co-workers. While, frankly, I’d prefer real tacos, that’s the next best thing.

But there is a downside. For instance, knowing who is giving the praise. The WSJ writes:

In most cases, bosses and other co-workers using HeyTaco, Growbot or similar tools can see who’s praising whom; leaderboards show who’s getting the most shout-outs; and often points are tallied that can be traded in for rewards like gift cards or time off.

While this can be good for managers when performance appraisal time rolls around, it can cause problems as well. For instance, let’s talk about bullying.

To keep reading, click here: When Lots of Praise Backfires

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5 thoughts on “When Lots of Praise Backfires

  1. Between yours and Alison’s articles, I might need to give in soon and sign up on Inc.

  2. 5 tacos to hand out every day reminds me of pieces of flair. Wouldn’t be nice if there could be a human “don’t be an asshole” touch?

  3. I work in public education where we want all teachers to be “highly qualified” Sounds good until you realize that if all of your teachers are “highly qualified” than “highly qualified simply becomes the new “average”

    So to with “good job”. If everyone is doing a “good job” than everyone is actually average. If all you do is just what you’re told to do, that ain’t praiseworthy.

  4. I can’t help but think this sounds extremely gimmicky (like flair). Any social environment — virtual or real — isn’t immune from becoming politicized. This seems like an application that could become rotten with the influence of office politics.

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