Imagine for a moment that you received an invitation to birthday party from a lifelong friend. If it was someone you cared about deeply, you’d make every effort to attend and bring an appropriate gift.
In fact, you probably wouldn’t get just any gift for a close friend. You’d almost certainly take the time to consider something that was particularly meaningful. Regardless of its expense, you’d want them to know you were thinking specifically of them when it was opened.
Moreover, you’d either take the time to package it well yourself or ask someone else to wrap it up beautifully.
Let’s say you showed up for the party, and handed the gift to your friend. Almost certainly they would notice the beautiful appearance of the gift and, since you took the time to think about them when selecting the gift, you wouldn’t be surprised if they exclaimed how wonderful it was.
But you would be surprised if your friend suddenly threw the gift on the ground, and starting stomping on it, smashing it into several pieces. If fact, you may be so stunned that it could irrevocably harm your relationship.
Of course, I’ve never heard of something like this actually happening between two close friends. Virtually everybody shows good manners when receiving a gift and, even if they dislike the contents, will put on a smile and thank the giver for the thought. The mere suggestion of responding any other way seems completely inappropriate.
And yet, so many of us do exactly this when someone gives us the gift of praise. I’ve both made this error myself and seen clients and friends do this many times over the years. Does the below sound familiar to you too?
A well-meaning colleague, customer or friend takes a moment to give you some genuine praise for something you did well. Maybe the praise is well-deserved or maybe it’s not. Regardless, the next thing you say is:
Well, that’s nice of you to say, but it was really nothing…
Oh, it was just this one time that I did this…
All of the above negate the gift of praise that the other party took the time to think of, package, and present to you in words. It’s not unlike stomping on a physical gift after accepting it.
If you believe the praise you receive from someone else is deserving, the appropriate response is:
If you believe the praise you receive from someone else is undeserving, the appropriate response is:
If you feel like the person giving you praise is only doing so in order to manipulate you in a complex game of organizational politics, the appropriate response is:
What you do later with the praise is up to you (just like when you receive a gift you don’t want) but the best way to accept praise in the moment is to simply thank the person who gave the gift, regardless of their skill, accuracy, or motive.
Commit this week to recognize the common words you tend to use to discount praise. Catch yourself in the moment the next time you hear them coming out. If you do, you’ll encourage relationships and organizations that value open and honest care for people.
We all know that getting criticized hurts, even when it’s valid, even when it’s meant to help us. Most of us actively work to avoid criticism and to garner praise. We want those around us, especially the authority figures we respect, to see us in a positive light. From the gold star in elementary school to a pat on the back in adulthood, that desire for positive recognition never really goes away.
So why is it so hard for some people to accept praise? Why do they grow uncomfortable, even evasive, the moment the spotlight of positive recognition starts shining on them? The best explanation is environmental. It’s simply that they grew accustomed, in their relationship with primary caregivers and other important authority figures, to criticism as the default response. This doesn’t mean that they failed at their endeavors, in fact they may have excelled at most of them.
This is because it’s as easy to motivate using negative reinforcements as it is to motivate using positive reinforcements. In the context of this article the negative reinforcement utilized by authority figures was criticism and the response of the people being criticized was trying to do better in order to avoid this criticism in the future. People who have a really hard time accepting praise probably didn’t receive a lot of praise in their formative years. It’s not that they didn’t want to receive it, it’s just that they didn’t, so it’s an unfamiliar reinforcement to them, one they don’t really know how to respond to when it does show up.
At the deeper existential level training using criticism and other negative reinforcements almost always creates the side effect of low self-esteem, of a negative self-concept, even though this negative self-concept might be largely repressed since it’s obviously extremely painful to view yourself as worthless, deficient, bad, etc. But if these are the underlying beliefs about Self then any sort of praise won’t sync up with them. The instinct is to discount the praise as untruthful or just plain wrong.
Those who were praised a lot in their formative years have no problem accepting praise, in fact they bask in the glow of positive recognition. This is because it feels comfortable and right to them, it syncs up well with the underlying beliefs they hold about themselves.
Of course in the objective world some praise is warranted while other praise is not, just as some criticism is warranted while other criticism is not. For people who grow uncomfortable in the praise spotlight it can be useful to increase insight around the environmental factors we have been talking about here. In adulthood praise is less likely to come around unless it is warranted. If the default response is to reject it out of hand then it’s time to take a step back to really understand why, to make room for the possibility that comfort around criticism, discomfort around praise, and that underlying negative self-concept might have a whole lot to do with early authority figures having preferred to use negative reinforcements, which is a fault that lies with trainer not the trainee.
M any people get uncomfortable when getting praises. Definitely, they like it but are concerned about being dismissive or saying something stupid and not responding thus coming off as offensive.
You could consider having a comfortable plan that can fit in the middle. Everybody craves praises, yet accepting a compliment graciously is a challenge the world over. You might be looking forward to getting praises — particularly from a person you admire. However, it is possible you do not know how you should respond.
Most people minimize compliments as a way of avoiding coming off as conceited. This is very common and sociolinguists have even categorized responses to praises. The 3 responses are deflection, rejection or acceptance. Instead of out-rightly rejecting or humbly accepting the compliments, most people often decide to dilute or deflect the praise.
You could get tempted to give a response by denying or even as a self-insult. However, it is a lot easier to simply say, “Thank you, only that I really was not as helpful.”Other people can ask for more reassurance by using a response like “Really? I thought I had completely messed up the speech.”
Although you might feel as though your response is appropriate, it, however, only serves to undermine the praise and even insult the giver. By devaluing compliments, you are sending a message that you are not confident in what you do and that you have a rather low self-esteem. It can also come across as if you are not respectful of the sentiment of the individual giving you the compliment.
Many people do not know how to respond when people pay them a compliment. It is important that you realize that they are trying to recognize something that you have done. For sure you will not just ignore or blankly stare at them. It is only logical that you offer an acknowledgement. If you often at times respond in a negative manner to compliments, you could consider retraining yourself to express gratitude.
Below are some ways that you could use to humbly and graciously accept kind words of praise.
Use suitable body language
When you get nervous or are uncomfortable, your gestural cues can give the unintended impression. Avoid crossing your arms or coming across as though you are disinterested. Rather, lean forward slightly, maintain eye contact, and engage the people around you with friendly facial expressions. Be sure to take in those moments of praise.
Every time you are offered a compliment, respond by saying “Thank you.” This is a simple, yet a powerful expression. The person giving the praise will be more receptive to the humble response. You can respond with, “Thank you, that is kind of you,” and also “Thank you, I do appreciate the compliments.”
Always accept awards using the left hand
When you are recognized for professional achievements in a ceremonial setting, at all times accept the trophy, plaque, or the certificate using the left hand. In so doing the right hand is left free for a handshake with the person who is presenting the award. This will also allow others who would want to celebrate you be able to do so.
When a compliment offered involves a team effort, it is important that you recognize the input from your colleagues. Several powerful executives get to a point that they do not publicly acknowledge or recognize those who had assisted them to succeed.
This has proven to be the fastest way to lose your friends. Rather, openly acknowledge the teamwork effort. You could give a response like, “Everyone put in much effort; thank you for recognizing our hard work.”
Do not downplay a compliment
Receive every praise with modest gratitude. Avoid using phrases such as, “Oh, it’s not a big deal,” or “Thank you, but that was nothing.” Whenever you downplay praises, you may feel that you are showing humility. But instead, it will make anyone person who offers you the praise feel rejected.
Follow proper etiquette
When you are getting a toast, stick to the right protocol. People receiving a toast you should not drink soon after the speech is completed. Think of how it can get awkward if you are singing “Happy Birthday” in your party. Rather, smile and nod your head, give everyone the chance to sip their beverage then offer you a return toast.
Avoid a battle of compliments
Particularly when you receive a compliment from a person you admire and respect, you might be tempted to understate or even “out-compliment” your work. Fight the desire to one-up sincere compliments offered to you.
Do not respond by saying, “Thank you, only that we know that my contribution was not as important as yours.” You could instead, take in and enjoy the moment and appreciate the accolades.
Do you find the above tips helpful? Please share your thoughts and if you have further tips even better!
Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
2 Corinthians 10:17-18
I was still new in my faith, and that morning, I sat like a firework in the front pew. My heart was eager, ignitable.
Our church had a guest speaker, and I hung on every word, as if I were hearing the gospel for the first time. His fiery words were like a match on my spiritual fuse.
After the service ended, I weaved through the crowds to tell the speaker how his words had moved me.
I had barely uttered the words, “thank you,” when he began to vigorously shake his head at me.
“You shouldn’t be thanking me,” he said, jabbing his index finger heavenward. “You should be thanking God.”
It felt like a rebuke. I walked away embarrassed—and a lot less firework-ish.
For a long time, that encounter with a respected Christian leader shaped my thinking on how Christians should handle affirmation from others. I brushed off praise for my accomplishments in the workplace, and I rarely knew what to say when people praised my work on the church worship committee.
I became allergic to compliments.
I know a lot of Christians who feel the same way. They are worried that if they accept praise, they are stealing God’s glory and his spotlight. But like me, they agree that it feels awkward—if not unkind—to wave off praise and point to heaven, as if to say, “Don’t thank me; thank God.”
To be sure, the Apostle Paul wrote to the people of Corinth: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
But that doesn’t mean we have to duck from kind words. We aren’t stealing God’s glory if we offer a simple “thank you” when someone compliments our performance at the office, our frosted cookies at the bake sale, or our song at the worship service. Our lives exist inside of Christ, and Christ exists inside of us. What comes out in his name is a product of what God designed us to do.
True humility doesn’t mean we wave off affirmation. God put gifts at work inside of us. True humility is genuine “thanks,” delivered with grace.
Today, in your work, remember that you are free to shine for Jesus. Because of Jesus. Your life as a faithful, working Christian is a “boast in the Lord.” All glory goes to your Maker because he’s the author of every good endeavor. When someone praises you for the gifts that God has graciously given to you, a great response includes a smile and two simple words: “Thank you.”
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What gifts has God given you that give him glory? Do you feel like you’re stealing God’s praise if you say “thank you” when offered praise for those gifts? Can you identify Christians in your life who graciously accept praise, without stealing glory from God?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, in your grace, you have given each of us different gifts to do things well for your glory. Help us to remember that because you live within us, our use of those gifts automatically brings you glory. Help us to remember that we don’t have to perform spiritual acrobatics to “boast in the Lord.” We pray this in your name and for your glory. Amen.
After all, how do you respond to something like that?
Someone is saying something nice about you so it should feel good, right?
In fact, it can often feel very awkward.
Yes, accepting a compliment can be more challenging than it sounds.
Luckily, we’ve got a great range of ways to reply, as well as some general advice on how to deal with compliments, praise, and those weird back-handed compliments.
1. Thank you.
It’s straightforward, but it gets the job done!
Simply saying “thank you” gets across everything you need to.
It’s your way of saying you’ve accepted their compliment and you can move on and continue the conversation without any awkwardness.
Sometimes there’s just no need to overthink it.
2. Thanks for noticing.
This is a great variation and is useful in situations where the compliment is quite specific.
Rather than someone tell you your hair looks good, they might mention that it looks great in the new style you’ve had done.
This shows that they’re paying attention and have noticed that you’ve done something different.
By thanking them in this way, you’re also showing that you’re grateful that they pay enough attention to you to notice.
3. Thank you for the kind words.
Acknowledging that someone is being kind to you is a nice way to respond to a compliment.
This shows that you appreciate the effort they’ve made to make you feel good.
This is also a good, general response to a compliment, so you can use it whether it’s about your personality, appearance, or even work and successes.
Some people get awkward giving compliments, so this is a form of reassurance for them too.
Letting them know that you think they are kind will give them confidence to praise others and lets them know you’re comfortable being given compliments.
This will strengthen your friendship/working relationship with them and lead to future support and encouragement!
4. That means a lot to me.
We really love this one for those special compliments.
It may be that a close friend has said something really lovely to you, or that someone has said something sweet out of the blue when you’re having a bad day.
This response feels very genuine and shows that you care about what’s being said to you.
5. I love that you care.
Another good one for those meaningful moments.
Saying that you ‘love’ that they’ve complimented you isn’t vain – it’s essentially putting the praise back on them without deflecting it yourself.
It can be awkward when you respond back with a compliment (“No, your hair looks great!”), but it can also feel a bit weird when you’re standing there unsure of how to respond without being big-headed (“You’re right, my hair does look great!”).
By including them and their personality traits into your response, you’re letting them know that they matter to you beyond simply enjoying their praise.
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6. I feel good today, too!
As mentioned above, it’s tricky to navigate personal compliments without standing in the limelight and feeling a bit narcissistic.
A good way to deal with this is to mention how you feel.
This way, you’re not talking about things that people may think make you vain (your hair, outfit, appearance, etc.), you’re talking about your emotions.
Being open about how you feel makes the other person feel valuable as you’re being honest with them. It might even cheer them up – being positive is great, as many of us are used to talking about feeling tired or bored!
Sharing that you feel good will bring up the mood and they’ll walk away feeling much better too.
7. Thanks, that’s cheered me up.
As we mentioned above, it’s great to share how you feel in response to a compliment. People like being nice for a lot of reasons, but being told that you’ve made someone feel better is always lovely.
If you let someone know that their kind words have improved your day or made things easier for you when you’re not feeling 100%, they’ll really feel like they’ve helped make a difference.
You don’t need to go into why you felt so bad before, but just knowing that they’ve played a role in cheering you up will make them feel great.
8. Thank you, that’s motivated me even more.
Some compliments can really give you a push in the right direction, and it’s nice to let the person know that.
If someone says something positive about your work, you can tell them that their support has helped you want to keep pushing through with the project.
Being told you had great form at yoga/weightlifting makes you feel inspired to keep going, so tell the person that.
Some compliments really encourage us, and letting the person know that will not only make them feel good, it’ll remind them how much their words mean and inspire them to praise and help others on their journeys.
What About Backhanded Compliments?
Backhanded compliments are sometimes tricky to spot, but the way you feel tends to be unmistakable.
Someone may say something that seems sweet enough on the surface but feels like a bit of an insult or a dig.
If someone does this to you, there are two main ways we’d suggest responding:
1. Ignore it.
Some people are just bullies and will deliberately make you feel uncomfortable in order to feel better about themselves.
Ignoring their petty attempts will not only discourage them and throw them off, it’ll help you realize just how much you need to be ignoring them.
2. Call them out on it.
We’d suggest doing this in private, even if the conversation the ‘compliment’ occurs in is public.
This is to save you the embarrassment of having any kind of public confrontation and should also make the other person feel more accountable.
It’s easy to laugh things off in a group, but a one-on-one discussion will make them feel a bit awkward and guilty – and less likely to do it again.
Whatever happens, keep your cool!
If it’s a fake compliment, brush it off. There are plenty of people who love and respect you and genuinely want to make you feel good.
Do your best to accept the real compliments without getting flustered or awkwardly throwing compliments back at them.
Most people don’t really have the time or energy to fake being nice, so try to accept that they’re telling the truth!
Don’t second-guess people’s motives, believe in the positive things people say to/about you, and don’t be afraid to start giving out more compliments yourself.
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Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.
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When you're doing an excellent job for a company or business, you may receive compliments or praise for your work. Knowing how to respond to those compliments can help you acknowledge the affirmation while continuing to build your professional working relationships and showing humility. In this article, we discuss why responding to compliments at work is important and how to acknowledge them, with helpful examples.
Why is responding to a compliment at work important?
It's important to respond to a compliment at work for several reasons, including:
Showing your appreciation
Responding to a compliment can help show your appreciation to a colleague or manager and let them know that you've heard and acknowledged their words. Showing your appreciation for their compliment can also help create a work atmosphere that might encourage your manager or colleagues to continue to affirm you for your hard work in the future.
Building professional relationships
When you respond to a compliment at work, you have an opportunity to build or strengthen your professional relationships. Your ability to accept a compliment and respond to it professionally can show your managers your strong business etiquette and continue to build and maintain your network of professional contacts. Those professional contacts can help you continue to grow in your career and might offer you more job opportunities in the future.
If someone compliments you at work, responding to the compliment in a way that acknowledges their praise and addresses your skills and experience can help demonstrate your competence and understanding of your role. Showing managers your competence and skills can help you become more noticeable and possibly increase your chances of earning promotions in the future.
How to respond to a compliment at work
Here are some ways you can respond to compliments at work:
Smiling is a great way to show your colleagues and managers how you feel about a compliment or recognition. If you're searching for the right words to help you respond to a compliment, smiling is a great way to immediately show your appreciation before acknowledging it verbally.
2. Give a simple reply
When you receive a compliment at work but you're not sure how to respond, it's OK to keep your acknowledgment short and simple. If you're having trouble finding a response, using a simple reply like "Thank you!" is a great way to show your appreciation quickly and efficiently.
3. Stay humble
When responding to a compliment that someone gives you at work, it can be important to be gracious and humble. Recognizing their praise with a polite response can help you become more noticeable to managers and can help you gain more professional connections for your career. For example, if a manager mentions to you that your work has been really beneficial to the company, you can reply with, "Thank you! I've been learning a lot from my colleagues!"
4. Show your appreciation
Along with thanking someone, if a colleague or manager pays you a compliment, it can be helpful to show your appreciation by other means. Verbally mentioning your appreciation or physically showing your excitement for the compliment through your expressions or body language can help a manager or colleague know how you received their affirmation. For example, extending your hand for a handshake and mentioning how much the compliment means to you are two great ways to further express your gratitude.
5. Comment on the task or project
If your manager's or colleague's compliment is directed towards a specific task or project that you completed, consider adding additional comments about the task when responding. This can help to demonstrate your experience with the job and acknowledge the work you put into that specific assignment.
For example, if a co-worker tells you that you did an outstanding job on your recent project for the company, you could reply with, "Thank you! The project was a challenge, but I think I managed it well!"
6. Mention their acknowledgment
If someone pays you a compliment, another way to respond is to mention and recognize their acknowledgment. Having a manager or colleague take time out of their day to compliment you is a very kind gesture, and it can be good to thank them for their words of affirmation.
For example, if a supervisor says that you did an outstanding job on your sales numbers last quarter, you can reply with, "Thank you! I appreciate the compliment and the acknowledgment of the work I've put into my job."
7. Acknowledge others
Another great way to respond to a compliment is to give a compliment in return. Giving acknowledgment to your colleagues or the person giving the compliment can help demonstrate your ability to work well with others and acknowledge their hard work.
For example, if a manager says that you've been doing an excellent job since you started the position, you can reply with, "Thank you, everyone here has been incredibly helpful."
Examples of responding to a compliment at work
Here are some examples of how to respond to compliments given to you in the workplace:
Manager: "Hey! Great job on those reports last week. The detail was excellent, it must have taken you hours."
Response: "Thank you! I worked hard on those and I appreciate the acknowledgment."
Manager: "Your work on that marketing project was excellent. We should hopefully see an increase of clients thanks to your hard work."
Response: "Thank you! I couldn't have done it without my team. I appreciate being allowed to lead them. I'll let them know you liked it."
Colleague: "Hey! I heard you making those sales calls yesterday. You do a really magnificent job talking with clients."
Response: "Thank you! I appreciate the compliment. I've been practicing talking with clients for a little while and it's nice to know that I'm doing better."
Colleague: "I saw that memo you sent out last week, it was very informative and helpful. Great job!"
Response: "Thank you! I thought those things were important to address. I'm glad you thought so, too."
While I was in the check-out line at the grocery store the other day, the customer ahead of me complimented the cashier on her earrings. Instead of saying, “Thank you,” the cashier replied, “Aren’t they cute? They’re on sale at Target for $15.99.” In other words, she dismissed the compliment and offered information that was not necessary.
This cashier is not unusual. Many of us don’t know how to accept a compliment. And in some cases, we inadvertently insult the person who gives it.
Why does accepting a compliment feel so awkward, causing us to stumble over our words, downplay or even reject it? The problem may lie in the fact that from the time we are children, we are taught to be humble, not cocky or arrogant.
But whenever you downplay or reject the compliment you may be doing more harm than good. A compliment is, after all, a kind of gift, and turning down a gift insults the person giving it, suggesting that you don’t value them as highly as they value you.
Here are some dos and don’ts that will help you gracefully accept any compliment.
1. Do say ‘thank you’.
The rule of thumb when you receive a compliment is to simply and humbly say “Thank you” or “Thank you; I appreciate your kind words.” By accepting the compliment, you show gratitude for the other person’s kind remarks and do not come off as vain, bashful or prideful.
2. Do share the compliment.
If someone compliments you and your team, acknowledge the compliment and say that you will pass it along to those team members who helped you do the work or complete the project. This makes everyone feel good.
3. Do receive a toast.
When someone raises a glass in a toast to you, the correct protocol is to nod your head and smile. Do not pick up your glass and drink along with the others following the toast. This is like patting your own back and complimenting yourself. When everyone has taken a sip, feel free to stand and offer a toast in return.
4. Do be mindful of your nonverbal behavior.
Watch your body language as you accept the compliment. Avoid crossed arms, downcast eyes or overly-casual postures that can send a wrong message or indicate disinterest. Lean slightly forward, look the giver in the eyes, and smile as you say “thank you.”
5. Don’t get into a compliment battle.
At times, you may feel inclined to “out-compliment” or downplay your work, especially when a compliment comes from someone you respect and admire. This may be appropriate in Asia, but not in the U.S. Fight the urge to one-up someone’s sincere praise. Don’t say, “Thank you, but I know my input wasn’t nearly as valuable as yours.” Instead, embrace the moment and be grateful for the accolade.
6. Don’t deny or downplay the compliment.
One of the worst things you can do is deny a compliment. This can come across like a slap in the face to the giver, as it negates their opinions and feelings. An example of this type of interaction might be: “You look really nice today. Is that a new suit you’re wearing?” Response: “This old thing? I’ve had it for years.” Or, “You gave a good presentation this morning.” Response: “I could have done better. I messed up a few times.”
7. Don’t question or insult the giver.
When someone offers a compliment, know that it may be coming from his or her heart. When you deny the compliment, it may seem as if you question their taste or insult their judgment as in this example: “You are one of the best speakers I’ve heard all year.” Response: “Really? You must not get out much.”
8. Don’t milk the compliment.
To gracefully receive a compliment, try not to give responses that attempt to elicit reassurance, like “What makes you think that?” or “Gosh, are you sure?”
Whenever you receive compliments, use these guidelines and you may find yourself receiving even more since your graceful acceptance gives both you and the giver great pleasure.
Some people aren’t very good at accepting praise. With a dismissive wave of the hand, they will completely dodge any words of praise. But it’s important to graciously accept praise when it’s given to us. Let’s take a look at why it’s important to accept praise and how to do it graciously.
Discrediting praise is disrespectful to its giver. It’s basically saying, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Having been in that position, I know it’s frustrating when people belittle the good thing about them I am wanting them to recognize.
Giving and receiving thanks is very similar. It’s popular these days to simply say, “No worries.” I know I don’t really like that phrase. Giving someone thanks does not mean that I was worried about what I’m thankful for or even that I should have been worried about it. So, please don’t say, “No worries.” Don’t say, “No problem” either. “I’m glad I could help” is a much more gracious way to accept thanks.
Here’s a really simple yet profound way to accept praise. Consider their words for a brief moment, taking them in. Then just state, “I receive that.” You could throw a “thank you” in there, too, if you feel so moved. (Hopefully, they don’t say “no worries.”) The simple phrase, “I receive that,” acknowledges their words and tells that you really let them in.
Once you’ve received thanks or praise, go ahead and store it in memory for future reference that people appreciate who you are and what you do. Store the details, too:
- “I’m a good friend.”
- “I’m reliable.”
- “I make people feel more at peace.”
I want you to integrate those good things into your self-concept. It’s valid at a minimum because someone else believes it to be true and worth sharing with you. Interestingly, we tend to relate more to people’s negative comments and retain them, compared to how we handle people’s positive comments. This natural tendency makes it all the more important to receive the thanks and praise we get from other people.
Next time someone tells you something good about you, go ahead and receive that praise graciously. And watch for it, too. Perhaps it’s coming to you more frequently than you realize. If you feel you aren’t getting much thanks or praise, consider setting the precedent by giving more praise, yourself. It could help put a new dynamic in motion of increased giving and receiving of thanks and praise.
Praise is one of the most powerful things a leader can offer their team.
When delivered well (and well-deserved), praise gives your people the drive and motivation to continue doing the kind of work you want to see.
This is why Mary Kay Ash, founder of the Mary Kay Cosmetics empire, remarked:
The power of praise in the workplace is more than anecdotal. Gallup found that giving praise has a profound impact on a company’s bottom line and its retention:
“[Those answering “strongly agree to] “In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work” is responsible for a 10% to 20% difference in revenue and productivity.
Employees who report that they’re not adequately recognized at work are three times more likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.”
The benefits of praise
Correlations to revenue and productivity increases aren’t the only benefits of regular praise in the workplace. Several other benefits have been reported by recent large-scale research.
Management experts Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton’s The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance revealed data from a 10-year study of more than 200,000 employees.
They found that managers who consistently praise their employees have a lower turnover rate and “79 percent of employees who quit their jobs cited a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving.”
The same study found that more consistent workplace praise also helps employees achieve better results, with 66% of respondents citing “appreciation” as a significant motivator of performance.
Consultancy firm Towers Watson also found in their Global Recognition Study that praise and appreciation is one of the most important factors in building trust.
More than 40% of those respondents who cited not feeling appreciated said they didn’t fully trust their managers and believed their managers didn’t trust them.
The same study also found that managers who make it a habit of recognizing their employees saw “increases in engagement by almost 60%”: