In the book the 5 Languages of Appreciation, the authors outline five types of praise. Understanding each helps better recognize what makes people unique.
Praise of Tasks. This type of praise focuses on a specific tasks and calls attention to the behaviour. Global praise like good job is shown to be least motivating because it is generic. Specific, focused recognition is most rewarding.
Praise of Characteristics. Looks beyond performance and highlights the inner nature of the person. Some character qualities are perseverance, compassion, forgiveness, honesty, integrity, patience, kindness, loving, hardworking, unselfishness.
Praise of Personality. Personality is our normal way of approaching life. Affirm personality traits like spontaneous, logical, intuitive, talker, doer, optimistic, pessimistic, aggressive, passive, neat, disorganized.
Looking at the three types, the most common praise would be task and the most effective is personality.
I was a guest speaker for an HR conference where the other guest speaker highlighted the book(later I purchased the book). Gary Chapman is also the author of the best selling book, the Five Languages of Love.