Give and take gracefully

DO YOU believe that you are not noticed or given credit for excellence? You are not in the minority. Many people in the business world feel the same. What is missing is "positive feedback" or "recognition" from peers and superiors. In other words, compliments.

Now, is it bad to expect a compliment? Doesn't our philosophy tell us to do our best without expecting rewards? An evolved concept, all right. But the problem is, most mortals are exactly that — just "ordinary mortals". It is a basic human need to be noticed and appreciated. We feel great when we receive a compliment.

Culturally, we are not comfortable giving or receiving compliments. We have witnessed situations where, if something untoward happens to a person who has received a compliment, it is immediately blamed on the "evil eye" cast by the innocent compliment giver. The other conditioned thinking is that if you compliment someone, it will go to his head. There are also those who will not give a compliment because they feel it will devalue their own image and abilities. Sounds familiar? We all know the fallacy of the first two points; so ignore them. The third point is a problem of individual ego. Again, ignore it.

So, here are a few pointers on giving and receiving compliments.

* Be sincere. If you are truly impressed by something, express it with a heartfelt statement. Or else, it comes across as flattery.

* Compliments need to be appropriate. Don't exaggerate or use flowery words. They take the power and sincerity away from a compliment.

* The next important ingredient is, timeliness. Acknowledge a job well done.

* A good manager always remembers that praising good work encourages positive behaviour. It is a great way to build team spirit. It sets the standard for courtesy, care and excellence. This, in turn, enhances leadership.

* In the business arena, compliment `accomplishments' and `a job well done', not the `person'. For example, compliment a well-prepared presentation and not how nice the person looks. This is especially important with the opposite sex. You might admire somebody's tie or handbag. That's the limit for a personal compliment in the business arena.

Receiving a compliment is the other side of the coin. A lot of people do not know how to do so. It could be because they have never received one before or they genuinely don't know how to respond! The responses vary. Some brush a compliment aside, others reject it, while a majority ignore it.

If someone says to you, "Your paper was excellent, I really enjoyed it", it would be an insult to respond with, "Yeah, it is okay, I missed a few points". You have just made the person who complimented you feel foolish. If you receive a personal compliment on how attractive your clothes look, it is unnecessary to explain how old they are or that you paid next to nothing for them. All you need to do is — smile and accept the compliment sincerely.

The rule is simple. There is only one way to receive a compliment. That is graciously with a "Thank you, I am glad you liked it" and there is only one way to give a compliment — with sincerity.


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