Why You Shouldn’t Seek Praise at Work

The benefits of getting praised at work are well known by most. Depending on the praise that you receive, you can use positive evaluation of your work to further your career and get more people on your side of influence at work. Everybody respects a hard worker at work, and if the praise is deserved, there is absolutely nothing wrong with receiving it. 

The reactions of your colleagues to praise that you receive is difficult to control however. Your success at the workplaces greatly depends on the perception those around you hold of you. Receiving praise backed by official decision-makers at work can, in some instances, serve you in a more negative light than positive one.  This article is to educate you on the dangers of praise, as everything has its pros and cons. 

Keeping the cons of receiving praise in mind will prepare you for any malice which is sent your way upon being praised at work. Your name and face will now be publicized at your workplace, and knowing following risks involved can you use the newly gained attention to further increase your influence. 

Beware of Envy 

Envy from your coworkers will exist in the face of any positive news that you receive at work. This is a fact that many people willingly choose to ignore. It is scary to know that you sit in a cage of competitive beings for half your day, every day. However, the people who are your most direct competitors in life are the coworkers who share the same level of influence as you at work. Your direct colleagues are your biggest competition in life. Whether this is from a financial perspective, an ideological one, or in terms of having the best work-ethic. 

Once your work is praised at your workplace, your direct competitors will have you in their sights. As the victor of any competition that your coworkers mentally conjure up, you are now the person they want to win against. Envy from your coworkers will show itself in aspects during your day you never thought competition existed in. Don’t be alarmed if you see competitive tendencies from your coworkers exhibiting themselves in mundane tasks after you receive praise from ‘the man’. 

You can begin to see competitive behavior at the coffee machine, washrooms, and in general office tasks. Never mind the competition that you will see among your actual work tasks (battle of ideas, race to timelines, and comparisons of work quality). You will be the poster boy/girl once you receive praise, and you should prepare yourself for the competitive envy of those around you. 

No matter how much your colleagues congratulate on your victories at work, always expect malicious and envious behavior to follow suit. The ones who congratulate you most tend to most want what you attained. 

Beware of Expectation 

If you have the envy of your colleagues under control, then you should begin thinking about the expectations of those above you. The people who you receive awards, medals, and other possessions of praise from tend to be those in positions more senior to yours. Your managers, leads, and directors will be the ones allocating praise. With their praise, come their expectations. These two travel hand in hand, and in an effort to understand why, you must ask yourself what their motive is for giving out praise.

The general motive to give out praise to your employees is to reward hard work and encourage others to work hard. This motive by in large confirms the competitive theories laid out above along with approving the theory that expectation will be placed on your shoulders once you receive that award. The work that got you praised will no longer matter as much as it did. The bar has been set higher, and in order to keep receiving praise you will need to step up the level of your output. As you can imagine, this is a stressful and unfulfilling venture. If you yearn to be praised at work, prepare to manage mounting expectation from your managers. 

Book Recommendation: 

Crucial Accountability: Tools for Resolving Violated Expectations, Broken Commitments, and Bad Behavior, Second Edition

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