The problem with saying things like “great job” or “well done” to a team member is that it’s very likely that they wouldn’t say the same back to you.

Praise tends to only flow in a downward direction, from higher level team members to lower level ones.

It’s the same with criticism. A manager might criticise their team member in an appraisal, but it’s unlikely the team member would feel comfortable doing the same, at least not to their face.

So praise and criticism create vertical relationships.

A brilliant book, The Courage to be Disliked, introduces horizontal relationships. This is where instead of praise and criticism you focus on gratitude and giving thanks, because they can flow around a company no matter what someone’s seniority is.

I put this in place in my agency and found that pretty soon, all team members were thanking each other. It led to a happier workplace with everyone doing better work together.

Gratitude and thanks over praise and criticism.