Ask any of the great talk show interviewers—Winfrey, Letterman, O’Brien, Kimmel—and they will tell you that no matter how successful, famous or established the interviewee, they always want to know how they did. After the interview, they all ask the same questions: How did that go? Did I do okay? What did you think? The need for validation runs deep, especially for the best performers and talent.
Great leaders know this. They make sure to give that affirmation after a performance or great results. The best talent in your world needs this. Maybe even more than everyone else. Not because they are insecure (although they might be), but because validation by those they respect and admire closes the book on that performance or task.
Validating others by affirming how they performed is essential work for great leaders. They go out of their way to make sure this validation underlines the performance. The fact that others desire this validation from you should be considered a high compliment. Where inexperienced performers seek validation from everyone, the best performers crave it most from those they see as experts. Pay the compliment back by the validating performance of others — even when they hit out of the park. That you heard the crack of the bat gives them joy.