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Something I don't think we do enough of, in either
our personal or professional lives, is to pay someone a compliment. I'm
not just talking about a simple "Thank You,"
probably wouldn't be a bad place to start, but a genuine note of
gratitude for a job well done. A compliment may sound like a trivial
thing, but most people tend to respond to recognition as they like to
know they are on the right track and their efforts are appreciated. If
compliments are not forthcoming, people tend to believe they are simply
being ignored or taken for granted.
When a compliment is given, it is
typically delivered badly. Expressions like "Cool"
may seem clever, but are hardly an effective form of appreciation. A
compliment comes from the heart, it is certainly not mechanical. It
must be sincere and a true expression of gratitude. As such, there is
no pat formula for giving a compliment. It may be something as simple
as a plaque or an award, perhaps a bonus or gift, some sort of public
recognition, or maybe nothing more than a sincere handshake and a few
kind words like, "Well done." Actually, it depends
person; whereas some people thrive on kudos, others are more private
and prefer anonymity. Some are confident enough to realize they have
done a good job and simply derive pleasure from the work performed;
these are the true craftsmen. So, a lot depends on the person to
receive the compliment as well as the person who wishes to express
Perhaps the best type of
compliment is one where the person isn't expecting to receive it. In
fact, it may seem a little more genuine and sincere coming from out of
the blue. Let me give you an example, I recently sent a letter to Maria
Shriver complimenting her on how well she handles herself as First Lady
of California. As you probably know, she is a member of the Kennedy
clan, well known for their liberal politics, but she is also married to
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a confirmed Republican. She may not always
agree with her husband's politics, but she has always been there to
support him and the people of her state. Regardless of her political
agenda, which I personally differ with, she has always been a model of
poise, dignity, and class. To me, she is a role model to be emulated
regardless of your political persuasion. Consequently, I wrote and told
her so. I don't know if it is important for her to receive such a
compliment as much as it was for me to say it as I believe it is
necessary to recognize the integrity of role models, now more than
ever. As First Lady, she may not carry the same authority as her
husband, but I thought it was important to let her know that her
actions do not go unnoticed or are unappreciated by the public.
I do not understand why people are afraid of giving a compliment. If we
feel it is necessary to criticize, we should also be prepared to
compliment. Whereas one is typically negative and destructive, the
other tends to be positive and constructive. Yet we feel more
comfortable criticizing than complimenting. I'm not sure why. I'll tell
you this though, a compliment is neither corny or unhip. If done
properly, not only is it the right thing to do, but it can actually
work miracles as a simple form of encouragement. As the old saying
observes, "You can catch more flies with honey than you can
P.S. - I received a
gracious letter from Maria Shriver thanking me for the courtesy, "I
am truly honored to be serving as California's First Lady and it can be
very challenging juggling the many duties, as well as being a mother of
four children. However, we are making a positive difference in the
lives of many people and I am thrilled to be doing my part to help.
Again, thank you for your very kind words."
Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.
Keep the Faith!
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About the Author
Tim Bryce is the Managing
Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA)
of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the
management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Download Tim's eBook
(PDF), "The Bryce is Right! Empowering Managers in today's Corporate
Culture" (free DOWNLOAD).
Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-05-19 14:39:08 in Personal Articles