“Giving Credit Even When It Isn’t Due” is the title of the blog I posted today on Big Think. It’s a reminder that giving credit to others for effort, good intentions and accomplishments on the way to a goal not only makes them feel better about you, it motivates them as well. Few people are motivated for long by fear of punishment or humiliation. They resist or retaliate, when they don’t just give up.
For those of us more inclined to criticize than to give credit, the reason is likely habit. As I’ve written about in my books and on this site, we are creatures of habit in our communication. We get stuck in ruts. One of them for you or people in your life may be finding fault more readily than seeing promise.
As the blog at Big Think explains, there are ways to give credit that enhance persuasion. In other words, giving credit can be considered a persuasion strategy. I remember my father used to nudge me to achieve goals. Rather than express annoyance or anger, he mentioned that what I’d already achieved meant the next step was in reach. It worked. Indeed, many of those next steps weren’t too far. What made them especially achievable, however, was his belief in me — his recognition of past successes, even small ones, as indications of future potential.
That’s what motivates many of us. Who doesn’t like to hear that what they’ve already accomplished is an indication of how much more is within their grasp? So, next time you’re about to criticize someone, consider whether a little credit for what he or she has done is in order. It may work wonders and get you out of a rut too.