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Getting a ‘tough’ boss to dish out praise

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Some bosses can't bring themselves to say, “Good job!” Maybe they think they’re too busy. Maybe they don’t know how. Maybe they just don’t believe people need to be told.

For those misguided bosses, we recommend The Carrot Principle by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton ( What readers will learn is that, according to 10 years of research by the authors, the companies where thanking people is the norm show bigger returns. The authors also point out that in a recent poll, 79% of employees who had quit their jobs cited the lack of appreciation as the main reason they left.

Ways to nudge your boss toward being more appreciative:

• Gift him a copy of The Carrot Principle, or send him a link to the free monthly “Carrot Culture Newsletter” (, under “Managers”). Both contain creative and easy-to-use recognition ideas.

• Tell your boss about a coworker’s contribution and encourage him or her to recognize it publicly. Some bosses simply don’t realize what a difference recognition makes. Say, “She’s not the type to brag, but you should know that Jasmine just worked through the weekend to wrap up our big project. I know it would mean a lot to her if you recognized her work.”

• Model the behavior you’d like to see from your boss. Thank your co-workers for their help, and tell them what you appreciate about them. One idea: Deliver a short, handwritten thank-you note that specifically spells out what they did right. Example: “You did a great job making sure the XYZ project was spot-on perfect, and finished on time. Way to go!”

Your behavior might just rub off.

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