Leadership Principle: Praise Later or Praise First?

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Leadership Principle: Praise Later or Praise First?

Relationship between Praise and Compliance

Findings show that various characteristics of the condition, flatterer, and receiver perform significant roles in the relationship, and several theories try to clarify how flattery influences behavior (Garcia, Miller, Smith, Mackie, 2006). A review of research on praise, flattery, and ingratiation presents a stronger understanding of the behavior in which praise stimulates compliance, the factors mediating this relationship in the employees. Evidence reveals praise may enhance compliant behavior because it promotes liking for the flatterer (Kipnis, Vanderveer, 1971). A literature said that “we are phenomenal suckers for flattery ...we tend, as a rule, to believe praise and to like those who provide it” (Cialdini, 2009).

Praise Later

Experimental evidence recommends sequencing may be complex. Beginning with praise might benefit a leader grow relationship and be better liked, as relationship may promote enjoyable communications and good individual connections (Campbell, Davis, 2006). Although, should praise always occur first? Obtaining negative statements followed by flattering ones causes in more liking than overhearing all positive comments. And, when people realise recognition a criticism-praise sequence, praise may only be seen as an sign that criticism will follow and hold little positive value (Kay, Meyer, 1965; Tognoli, Keisner, 1972). One of the studies stated that the use of praise does not appear to achieve greatly by the manager. This may have been because of the point that, generally, praise used by manager did not seem too recognised by the employees as genuine praise. The employees probably started to recognise the criticism-praise-criticism pattern (Kay, Meyer, 1965). One finding stated that the superior liking was obtained in the negative-positive than the positive-positive situation (Tognoli, Keisner, 1972).

Praise First

Dale Carnegie’s self-help book “How to Win Friends & Influence People books was initially printed in 1937. It was an instant success, ultimately selling 15 million copies (Allitt, 2003). Many studies support Carnegie’s recommendation, showing that praises increase compliance (Hendrick, Borden, Giesen, Murray, Seyfried, 1972). A literature found adulation to be a successful strategy for acquiring people to complete and return long surveys (Hendrick et al., 1972). An another literature revealed that even tiny compliments boosted the probability people would fulfil with a request to contribute in a bake sale (Howard, Gengler, Jain, 1995). When praise accelerates liking, it seems to accordingly improve convincing power. According to “liking rule,” people are more competent to obey with requests approaching from friends or other liked individuals. Since likability can increase one’s capability to persuade compliance in others, this attribute has been recognised as essentially significant for leadership (Cialdini, 2009).

Positive affect may boost compliance by reducing the amount of complex analysis people choose to engage in. Several studies on persuasion indicate that the strength of an argument carries less weight in influencing happy people than people in neutral or sad moods (Bless, Bohner, Schwarz, Strack, 1990). A literature theorize that people in good moods, who assume the environment to be kind, may be more likely to obey because they are comfortable depend on typical knowledge structures (Bless et al., 1990).


According to studies stated that flattery does not influence all employees equally (Garcia et al., 2006), managers also require to consider to whom the flattery is being instructed. For instance, ethnicity seems to perform a function in flattery perceptions (Garcia et al., 2006). When flattery carries a stereotype of the flattered person’s ethnic group (e. g., “Blacks sure are good dancers”), the praise inclines to accumulate negative reactions (Garcia et al., 2006). Self-confidence is another possibly significant issue influencing ingratiation, with low self-confidence individuals more often realising flattery to be inaccurate as compared to those with high self-confidence (Vonk, 2002).

Generally, I agree with Carnegie’s Praise First principle. Flattery seems to increase compliance. Accurately how and when, nonetheless, is still not completely comprehended. Study shows that characteristics of the situation, flatterer, and receiver can develop or weaken the praise–compliance connection, representing that continued study of these elements is crucial for Carnegie’s Praise First principle to be efficiently affected across various groups of people and organizational backgrounds.

For limitation, this book was clearly written by an American for an American audience. The principle might not appropriate to the other cultures such as European and Asian. The audience should apply the principle properly in different cultures.

Appendix A: Personal Development

I graduated from a quite well-known university with acceptable grades in bachelor degree, even though I had a rough time finding a full-time job. I applied for six companies, and five of them invited me to the interview. I was fairly confident that I was the special one. Although, unfortunately, I was rejected by all the five companies which invited me to the interview. I did prepare to answer the basic interview questions plus studying the particular firms’ history. Firstly, I blamed the companies that they were foolish. They should have accepted the person like me. I kept blaming until my friend with lower grades got accepted in the company rejected me. Subsequently, I realised there was something wrong with myself. I had to change.

I found a book called "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. I dare to say that this book has changed my life in every aspect, especially the theory called “Getting People to Like You” (Carnegie, 2010). The concept is quite simple. If you want to be liked by other people, think about other people think, speak what they want to hear and make the other person feel important. In other words, you can just praise them and they feel more compliant (Hendrick et al., 1972).

I used to be fairly argumentative and self-centred. I tried to stick to the Praise First principle in the theory, and eventually I noticed that people become more co-operative, approachable, and honestly appreciate me. I wholeheartedly trust this theory because it helped me to survive in the extremely tough situation. I got caught by bringing an extra note in the final examination in my home country while I was doing an undergraduate school. I was told by the examiner that I was going to fail in that module and being punished hard. I did not argue or fight anything while the examiner pulled my exam paper. Then, I went to the examiner office then I told the examiner that I sincerely accept my own fault. I did not argue that I bought the note in the room and I genuinely told her that you did an excellent job by not letting student cheat in the examination. We had a one hour talk, then she told me that she would let me survive this time. I did not except that she would let me pass, but if I did argue with her. I would be a really bad situation. I praised the examiner and I did not argue anything. I put the meeting in the positive environment. I influenced and persuaded the examiner to agree with me while she was in the good mood (Bless et al., 1990). Thanks to the "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

In my future career plan, no matter what job I will be doing, I would like to understand and influence people in the organization. I’m going to put myself in one's shoes. I believe this logic would lead me to the successful in my career plan no matter the field you are in.

Appendix B: Personal Development Map

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Campbell, K.S., Davis, L., 2006 The Sociolinguistic Basis of Managing Rapport When Overcoming Buying Objections. Journal of Business Communication, 43(1), 43-66.

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Cialdini, R.B., 2009 Influence: HarperCollins.

Garcia, A.L., Miller, D.A., Smith, E.R., Mackie, D.M., 2006 Thanks for the Compliment? Emotional

Reactions to Group-Level Versus Individual-Level Compliments and Insults. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 9(3), 307-324.

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Howard, D.J., Gengler, C., Jain, A., 1995 What's in a Name? A Complimentary Means of Persuasion. Journal of Consumer Research, 22(2), 200-211.

Kay, E., Meyer, H.H., 1965 Effects of threat in a performance appraisal interview. Journal of Applied Psychology, 49(5), 311-317.

Kipnis, D., Vanderveer, R., 1971 Ingratiation and the use of power. J Pers Soc Psychol, 17(3), 280-286.

Tognoli, J., Keisner, R., 1972 Gain and loss of esteem as determinants of interpersonal attraction: A replication and extension. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 23(2), 201-204.

Vonk, R., 2002 Self-serving interpretations of flattery: Why ingratiation works. 82:515-526. [Online] Available from: http://0-dx.doi.org.innopac.up.ac.za/10.1037/0022-3514.82.4.515.