Last Updated: Aug 22, 2011
If you don’t take time to give genuine praise and positive feedback to the people who work with you, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them. There are three reasons why leaders often overlook this important activity.

In the course of a typical work day, you interact with your team members many times. During those encounters, you have lots of opportunities to compliment, thank or praise them. But if you’re like many other leaders, you don’t.

Ever thought about why you withhold positive feedback when it would cost nothing to give it? Here are three possible reasons:

#1 – You get busy. You’re moving fast and don’t take time to notice, much less comment on, the good someone else has done or the value they’ve added to you or the enterprise. It doesn’t occur to you that a person wants or needs you to give them a compliment.

#2 – You’re pre-occupied with yourself. Most people think about themselves the majority of the time. Even with those whose work is critical to your success – the people who report to you – you’re likely to be consumed by your own problems, plans and priorities.

Both of these instances can be corrected by simply slowing down and focusing your attention outside yourself so you observe more. Then it’s easy to find opportunities to give compliments and positive feedback to others.

The last one is trickier because it’s a reflection of your self-esteem.

#3 – You think you’ll appear inferior in some way if you pay someone else a compliment. So at times, you consciously withhold praise. You have a twisted view that somehow, saying positive words to another takes away from your own self worth. But in reality, the opposite is true.

The more you make sincere affirming statements to others, the BETTER you’ll feel about yourself. Your own life is enriched when you are generous with compliments, provided they are heart-felt and authentic. The simple act of expressing gratitude and appreciation adds to your own happiness and well-being. As novelist Gertude Stein reminds us, “Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.”

Here are just a few examples to stimulate your thinking about ways you can recognize and express appreciation to others:

“Thanks for the detailed attention you gave to completing that report. You covered all the bases really well.”

“I appreciate your being on time for this meeting since we have a lot of material to cover.”

“I really like the logo design you created. The colors are perfect and it looks classy. It’s as though you read my mind!”

“The suggested you gave for improving our initial interaction with new was excellent. It will make a big difference in how they perceive our company.”

So don’t wait. Start today to find something positive to say to every person you work with. You’ll increase their motivation and satisfaction with their jobs and you’ll strengthen your relationship with them at this same time.

An entrepreneur since 1982, Meredith Bell is a skilled coach and expert on behavior change. Her software company publishes assessment and development tools for the people side of your business. For more information and the free guide for entrepreneurs, “Ignite Your Business,” visit:  


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