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When it comes to teamwork, teaching and leadership, encouragement is essential. Reminding team members of their value and spurring on their progress with intentional and intelligent affirmation is crucial for a team that is moving forward.

But how can we be sure that the praise we are giving in our workplaces and classrooms will lead to mastery and genuine confidence rather than dependency and insecurity?

Over 30 years ago, a cohort of middle school students was given some mathematics problems to solve.