Harness the Hidden Superpower of Compliments for Workplace Success

Why is a compliment so impactful? One of the most important things to humans is to feel valued and respected by others, and like we belong, says Vanessa Bohns, a social psychologist and professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University, who has researched compliments. “We’re always attuned to any scraps of information we get about how we’re viewed by other people,” she says, but rarely do we receive any. “When we get a compliment, it gives us that feedback we want to know so badly about what other people think of us.” An expression of admiration provides a “sliver of hope” that we’re viewed positively in some attribute, she adds, like work or fashion—which activates the reward center of the brain and bolsters our spirits. According to Bohns’ research, people feel “significantly better” after both giving and receiving a compliment, compared to how they felt beforehand.

The Time article, How to Give Good Compliments, discusses the power and importance of giving compliments, supported by insights from experts in social psychology. The key points include:

1. Encouragement to Give Compliments: Experts advise not to hesitate when it comes to giving compliments. Vanessa Bohns mentions that people often underestimate the acceptable frequency of giving compliments and should do so more often as long as they are genuine.

2. Impact of Specific Compliments: The article emphasizes the value of specific compliments that highlight meaningful actions or qualities. For instance, complimenting someone on how they handle situations or their ability to make ordinary moments feel extraordinary can significantly boost their morale and reinforce their positive behavior.

3. Handling Compliments: It’s also important how one receives compliments. The advice given is to respond with gratitude, which not only makes the giver feel good but also enhances interpersonal connections.

4. Avoiding Negative Compliments: There’s a warning against backhanded compliments or those that can be perceived as disrespectful, such as remarks that focus on physical appearance in professional settings. The emphasis is on ensuring that compliments are respectful and appropriate to the context.

5. Practical Tips: Practical suggestions for giving compliments include practicing beforehand and being specific about what exactly you appreciated. This can make the compliment feel more personal and heartfelt.

Overall, the article portrays compliments as a powerful tool for positive interpersonal interaction and personal connection, with recommendations on how to effectively give and receive them.

Here are the suggested compliments from the article:

– “You handled that situation so well.” This compliment is effective during challenging times and reassures the person that their efforts are appreciated.

– “You make even ordinary moments feel extraordinary.” Ideal for romantic partners and close family members, this compliment highlights how someone’s presence enriches everyday life.

– “I’m really impressed with your ability to work under pressure.” Suitable for professional settings, it acknowledges someone’s competence in stressful situations without focusing on unrelated attributes like appearance.

– “I love the way you bring out the best in people.” This is high praise for leaders or teachers, emphasizing their ability to recognize and cultivate potential in others.

– “Hey, great earrings!” Encourages complimenting strangers, suggesting that even small, casual compliments can positively impact someone’s day.

Your performance was brilliant.” Recommended for acknowledging someone’s effort and excellence, particularly in public performances or presentations.

These compliments are designed to be respectful, specific, and meaningful, enhancing both personal and professional relationships.

Here are more suggested compliments from psychological experts for the work setting to try out:

– “Your creativity really shines through in this project.” Acknowledges someone’s unique approach and innovative ideas, which are valuable in both personal and professional settings.

– “I appreciate your reliability—it’s great to know I can always count on you.” This compliments someone’s dependability, which is a highly valued trait in any relationship or team.

– “Your positive attitude makes everyone around you feel more upbeat.” This highlights the infectious nature of someone’s positivity, which can uplift and inspire a group.

– “You have a wonderful ability to listen—it makes me feel truly heard.” Recognizes someone’s listening skills, which is crucial in building strong, empathetic relationships.

– “Your attention to detail does not go unnoticed.” Compliments someone’s meticulous approach to their tasks, showing that their hard work is recognized and appreciated.

– “It’s inspiring to see how you handle challenges with such grace.” Highlights resilience and the ability to maintain composure and grace under pressure.

– “Your enthusiasm is contagious! Thank you for bringing energy to our team.” Acknowledges the motivational impact someone has on a group, enhancing team morale and productivity.

– “You ask great questions that really make me think—thank you for that.” Recognizes intellectual curiosity and the ability to engage others in thoughtful dialogue.

These compliments not only make the recipient feel good but also reinforce behaviors and traits that contribute to positive work interactions and environments. Why not flex your hidden superpowers today?