Sadly, since the #MeToo movement, many employees have consciously decided to stop complimenting, especially to the opposite sex.
Not complimenting may suppress talents, diminish self-esteem and sow doubt in the relevance of one’s role and responsibilities. The lack of recognition creates hesitations which delays doing. Not appreciating colleagues, their skills and strengths and that of clients impacts relationships and eventually the results.
For fear of false interpretation of their benevolent intentions, some now even prefer limiting their interactions to their gender peers. In this same sex circle, they feel safer to express themselves, and to give accolades. Plus, to avoid an “he said versus she said” situation, some managers, often middle-aged, insist on same sex witnesses. These practices may hinder recruitment, advancement and mentoring, while diminishing trust and increasing scepticism.
To return complimenting to company cultures, here is your how-to guide and the benefits of compliments to you, the receiver and employers.
Recognition for performance is a universal human need. We all want to be appreciated for our efforts. A compliment validates an employee’s role, his talents and his contributions. Complimenting produces happy employees.
A compliment has exponential powers. An employee that is positively acknowledged for what he does, will typically eagerly repeat the performance and may become more dedicated to the project and the company. A compliment invites complicity and reciprocity. It is a beneficial synergy that motivates and contributes to harmony as well as engagement. Ultimately, complimented employees are more efficient and bottom line more productive.
The benefits of a compliment are not limited to its’ beneficiary and the employer. The donor’s positive state of mind contagiously affects his own mood. As the proverb goes: Do good and feel good.
HOW TO OFFER A COMPLIMENT
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: “A compliment is an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration”. It is never a manipulation that is dispersed without reason. A compliment should not have a subsequent intention. A compliment must be founded. Without a real acknowledgement it will have the adverse effect, that of suspicion.
- A compliment is sincere. Usually unprepared, it acknowledges the work of colleagues and clients, in the present. A compliment is best made immediately following a praiseworthy action.
- A compliment should not be vague nor exhaustive. A good compliment is factual and concise. All can make the same observations.
- It details the quality, creativity, timeliness or initiative.
- It starts with “I” and verbs like: admire, enjoy, am impressed, recognize, value, etc.
- It contains qualities, like: generous, ingenious, innovative, original, perseverant, prompt, resilient, strategic, talented, unique, etc.
- It is done in the right dosage and is proportional to the accomplishment.
The more distinct the compliment, the greater the impact on the employee who receives it.
“Thank you that is great work on the marketing plan!” is ok but, “Thank you for this innovative marketing plan. I really am impressed by how strategic you are. This plan will make it easy to implement all of the creative social media practices you propose”, will have a “wow” effect.
A compliment can be done in private or publicly. Decide with an empathetic perspective, that of the one whom will receive it. Consider his level of comfort.
Offering a compliment in person is good, but it can more impactful when it is in an email, with a superior in Cc. Written on a sticky note or attached to a report will also validate an employee’s work. For a memorable impact, consider sending a handwritten card. It could even be done in the form of a testimonial to a client or a recommendation on LinkedIn.
A WORD OF CAUTION
Compliments that single out physical assets or attire are tricky. Usually accompanied by silhouette glances, they may be misinterpreted as flirting in lieu of flattering. Unless you are in the fashion industry, use overall general comments, like: “You look great this morning,” while looking at the eyes.
HOW TO ACCEPT A COMPLIMENT
Picture this. You compliment a colleague on her work. She replies: “Ohhh I just did what I had to do”. How do you feel? Probably deflated…
By modesty or their Judeo-Christian upbringing, many freeze, minimize the focused attention, deflect or reject a compliment. Don’t do it. And do not boomerang it back. “Thanks, but you’re the real pro in marketing plans”. Accept compliments graciously. “Thank you”, accompanied by direct eye contact and a smile suffices.
- When the compliment is for a group effort, do like pro athletes and share the credit. ” Thank you. I will share your comments with my teammates. We all pitched in and are really proud of the results”.
- For awards offered in front of an audience, do like the stars on tv. Recognize others in the order of the contributions. Accept your trophy with your left hand. Your right hand will be ready to shake hands.
- When you are toasted, don’t drink. One does not drink to one’s health just as one does not applaud one’s self. Look at the guests. Smile and gently bow your head in appreciation.
- When the compliment accompanies flowers or a gift that is delivered, thank quickly. Sending a photo will delight the sender.
Compliment. It is good for business, them and you.
Do you have sticky colleague situation? This is your forum. Write to Julieand she will write back. Your situation could inspire a blog post and help others.