Back in 2008, I tweeted that I was giving out compliments for FREE – all you had to do was e-mail me. One of the first responders was Etienne over at The Happy Employee.
Giving him a compliment was easy. In fact, I was able to share two specific examples of how his blog content had helped me in my consulting practice. His reaction to my compliment was very positive. Ironically, he had recently been doubting a bit as to whether or not his thoughts were cutting-edge. Thus, to get complimented on this very subject had been quite validating for him. Not to mention, it felt great knowing my compliment was helpful.
The exchange with Etienne proved my point: When done right, compliments are extremely powerful. It also led to an idea. What if we decided to challenge everyone out there to give more compliments in the workplace? Here’s why:
1. Compliments and appreciation are two different things. People tend to overuse appreciation and under-utilize compliments on-the-job.
2. Compliments are free, and thus, a great work perk that can be distributed by both management AND employees during economic downturns and corporate cutbacks.
3. Compliments improve relationships between two people.
4. Compliments feel good to give and receive.
Etienne even suggested we take the challenge up a notch. You see, we both agreed that giving a compliment to someone you like is easy, but what if you had to give a compliment to someone you didn’t like? Here’s his challenge:
“Imagine you have a gun to your head and MUST make a compliment to the most annoying employee you have ever met. Imagine who this person is, remember why this person was/is so annoying (and by all means, tell us about it), and then, come up with a compliment for this person. But there’s a catch. The gun to your head is from the future (comes with batteries and artificial intelligence). So, if what you say is in any way cynical or dishonest, you will be disintegrated, without any hesitation or second thoughts.”
If you need a refresher on what it takes to give a great compliment, read this.
Now, we’ll ask you again: Do you have what it takes? We dare you to give it a try. Then, come post your experience and tell us all the details. Who knows? Together, we just might change more than a few workplace relationships. Or, at the very least, seriously shock some people with kindness. Sounds to me like we can’t lose!