When I advocated using compliments strategically, Diana asked:
The short answer is the same as with any kind of introspection, thought or planning for an endeavor: it can be more effective, enjoyable and enlightening. Aren’t we often appreciative when someone put thought and effort into determining a gift especially pleasing to us? A compliment is a gift. Does thought or spontaneity really detract from gifts? Does amount of time and effort spent?
Compliments though serve many purposes. Not only do they serve as niceties making our worlds pleasant, but they serve as appreciators, morale boosters, relationship builders, influencers, performance enhancers, talent developers and confidence reinforcers. We give thought to the right compensation plans and the right developmental plans, so it follows that thought about the right compliments in follow up and management activities can help too.
We often hear, “catch someone doing something right.” Shouldn’t we invest time identifying that right behavior is and a good compliment to encourage it? A compliment isn’t just a spontaneous nicety. It can be a deeply felt, deeply considered and deeply personalized tool demonstrating that we’ve actually thought about what makes persons unique, special and effective in our enterprises. It expresses we are attending to and contemplating their existence. They are real and important.
One time, someone was going through some hard times, so I wrote something for her. She thanked me, liked it and found it helpful. Then, she said something that stuck with me. “Mike, what I appreciate most is that you spent time thinking about me and my situation.”
Some gifts require thought, planning and strategizing. Some compliments do too. Many can’t even give compliments let alone think about them. Don’t underestimate the power of thoughtfulness.