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The Importance Of Praise To A Soldier
Successful leaders use praise effectively. Identifying shortcomings and then telling soldiers what must be improved are
a leader’s responsibility. Praising soldiers for their improvement and proper performance is even more important.
Sincere and honest praise lets soldiers know that their leader appreciates their efforts. Praising subordinates is a
simple act that takes little time but will provide many benefits. With a few positive, encouraging words and a pat on the
back, the leader can recognize and reinforce desired behavior and performance. A soldier who feels that his best
efforts are valued by his leader is likely to continue in those efforts. It is important that the soldier know he is viewed as
a valuable member of the unit. With praise, leaders can create and reinforce a positive self-image in their soldiers,
making them feel like winners. This is most desirable in confusing or unclear situations where the soldier is trying to do
the right thing but is uncertain of his actual performance. For example, troops in initial entry training are uncertain of
themselves, but they feel a sense of pride when praised by their leaders for improved performance. Soldiers in combat
also need a few words of praise to let them know they have done the right thing in a difficult situation. Some soldiers
are assigned necessary but boring and not challenging tasks. They, too, must be praised for their contributions
to the overall success of the unit. Praise should be a part of every leader’s normal day-to-day leadership action. Its
contribution to soldier development cannot be overstated.
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