Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Giving compliments: easy and difficult

More and more research (positive psychology; happiness) indicates that giving a compliment is very important for the wellbeing, as well as the performance of employees. A compliment makes you feel good (yes, that is true for everyone!) and that will help you to more easily solve problems, be nicer to customers and/or come up with new ideas.

So, why are we not giving that many compliments then? The reason might be our culture , in which we are trained to focus on the weaknesses, mistakes and faults, rather than focusing on the strengths. We are afraid that people will become lazy when we give them compliments, or maybe that they will start asking for a raise.  Again, this is not true. In most cases, employees give a higher value to a positive and motivating environment than to just their salaries.

Therefor we need to practice to give compliments (at work and at home). And we also need to be careful if we criticize someone.  A decade of research on high and low performance teams by psychologist Marcial Losada shows the importance of compliments.  Through studying 100’s of corporate teams, the ratio of positive to negative interactions necessary to make a team successful, is 2.9 This means that it takes about three positive comments, interactions, experiences or expressions to fend off the languishing effects of one negative.
Dip below this level, known as the Losada Line, workplace performance quickly suffers.  Rise above it, and the results are predictably positive.

How many compliments did you give today?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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