The Real Value of Compliments

How should a leader receive a compliment? 

Compliments are easier to accept when you remember they are more about the person giving them than the person receiving them. You read that right. When others offer a compliment, they implicitly say, “I am the kind of person who notices your praise-worthiness, who sees excellence and good work, and acknowledges others.” 

Compliments are offered by people who want you to validate who they are while they validate who you are. So replies like, “Thank you for noticing,” “You are too kind to say so,” “You’re not easy to impress,” “Coming from you that means a lot,” “You always seem to highlight what I do well,” reflect compliments back to others and make them feel wonderful that they offered them. 

Funny how that works when you understand what is really at play. 

When I accept the idea that the compliments you offer are as much about you as they are about me, it makes them easier to accept. Even for those holdouts who suggest they don’t need compliments or praise. Just when you thought it was about you, it turns out it isn’t. So use compliments to affirm others. That way everyone can find a little praise in the exchange.