I’m a Sucker for a Compliment

starManagers often underestimate the power of a simple compliment. A timely, sincere compliment costs nothing to give but can yield terrific returns. Yet, many leaders regularly fail to take advantage of this tool. And some people yearn for compliments more than others. With these employees, recognition of a job well done or praise for a victory is even more powerful. Compliments can be given directly to the individual or they can be communicated to the individual’s peers, colleagues, or supervisors.  

Recently, a former colleague of mine was put up for a promotion. It would have meant a great deal to her–and to her commitment to her employer.

She didn’t receive the promotion. To say she was disappointed would be a gross understatement.

Her manager felt terrible about the turn of events. When he told her the bad news, he hurried through the explanation, failing to properly explain exactly what had occurred. Perhaps believing that the less he said and the shorter the discussion, the less she’d suffer. Wrong.

After she’d had time to digest the course of events, her only real complaint was not about her disappointment in not getting the new job. It wasn’t even about the company’s handling of the promotional process. And it wasn’t about the manager’s short explanation of what had occurred. Her only real complaint was that she felt so unappreciated at the end of it all. Had her manager only taken a moment to say that, despite the setback, the employee was still a highly valued member of the team and to assure her that the outcome of the selection process was not a reflection of the contribution she made to the organization.

In the case of my former colleague, a difficult setback for the employee could have been softened considerably by a simple compliment.

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One thought on “I’m a Sucker for a Compliment

  1. The Army taught me well. Appreciate your subordinates and let them know you appreciate them. Why is the civilian sector lagging behind? In the Army, we had leadership training at several rank levels. Some employers never provide any training for their managers. Its a shame….


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