- The Find: Praising employees after a mistake in an effort to boost their self-esteem can make them even more likely to screw up again, according to new research from the Kellogg School of Management and the London Business School.
- The Source: "The Promise and Peril of Self-affirmation in De-escalation of Commitment" in the current "Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes."
The Takeaway: Researchers asked a group of 80 undergraduate students to play the role of senior managers in charge of hiring. Some participants were praised for their decision-making in hiring, a skill relevant to hiring, while others were praised for their (irrelevant) creativity. All were told that their new recruit performed poorly. Those who had received praise for their decision-making were more likely to invest further resources in the problem employee than those who had been praised for their creativity. Bottom line: Praise your employees when they actually deserve it, not when they most want to hear it.