As you know, your income depends on other people. You give them something valuable and they give you money. So even if you think you have nothing to exchange, you have one valuable item that people want from you
"Approval and validation* are often far more valuable than material* rewards and are usually worked for far harder than mere pay."
-- L. Ron Hubbard (*validation: confirm something or someone is true, genuine) (*material: physical)
In a Gallup Organization poll of 2,000 workers, 69% said praise and recognition from their bosses is more motivating than money. Four out of five workers said recognition or praise motivates them to do a better job.
Studies by the US Army prove that soldiers improve their performance 90% of the time when praised and 30% of the time when criticized. But officers in the US Army still prefer to criticize and rarely praise anyone.
Thanking employees is an effective management technique. Every manager and executive must know how to show appreciation to deserving staff members. Good acknowledgments encourage better behavior and increased production. Validating good workers can even help a business recover.
For example, the owner of a small business had a heart attack and could not work for a few weeks. He recovered and came back to work and found he had no money to pay his employees. Instead of asking the employees to leave or borrowing money to cover payroll, the owner used praise and acknowledgment as "pay."
Every employee stayed on board without financial pay for nearly two months. The morale of the group was tremendous. The operation became profitable and the team was rewarded with more money than they would have normally received from a similar job.
You Can Use This Principle in Other Ways
You can use this principle in other ways. For example, workers can boost their success by properly thanking their bosses and coworkers. If your leader and teammates are succeeding, your chances to succeed improve.
Some people have the mistaken idea that it is wrong or weak to praise people. "If I thank him or approve his good work, he'll think I'm inferior." "I can't validate her good work because she's already making more money than me." "Even though Joe is my friend, he's also my competition for the raise so I'm not telling anyone how smart he is."
Of course, this idea is wrong. For example, successful sports teammates are constantly approving and encouraging each other with loud yells and slaps. Without this encouragement, the team and each individual would fail.
Praise also gets a bad name when you are not sincere. Sarcastic praise or lying about your admiration can actually hurt your relationships. Validating and appreciating people only helps you if you are honest.