It sounds like something that should go without saying, but if you’re trying to offer praise and support to someone, an honest compliment will almost always work better than a feigned one.
Photo by Quinn Dombrowski.
As business blog Inc. points out, insincere compliments have a way of going straight through the ears of the subject of your praise. Why? Well, usually they can tell if you’re just flattering them, or if you’re recognising something legitimately good. Tell them they’re good at their job, and they will appreciate it. Tell them they’re literally a god of any task they attempt, and they just feel like they’re being manipulated. To keep the compliments effective, keep them honest:
So here’s the thing: Praise only works if it’s genuine. Sincere. Authentic. This isn’t a gimmick, or a simple task you’re checking off a list. It’s a mindset. You must constantly be looking for the positive in your employees, partners, and teammates. Of course, everyone needs constructive criticism at times. But that will come naturally; if you see a damaging behaviour that begs correcting, you’ll be moved to address it.
Why not view praise in the same way? If you see something you like, tell the person as soon as possible. If you can’t do it immediately, make a note or set a reminder to make sure you don’t forget.
Of course, “give honest compliments” sounds pretty basic, but this concept can go beyond mere honesty. Effective compliments also targets what people believe about themselves. Do you know that someone works really hard on their work? Compliment them on that, instead of how they look. Praising something that people value about themselves will not only be more effective, but it requires you to pay more attention, which means your compliments will likely be more authentic.