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Daily Leadership Tip #21

For Day #21 of our daily Leadership Challenge, look for some time today to practice leadership principle #21, “Give Strength Centered Compliments“. We encourage you to apply each of the 28 daily leadership principles in this series by focusing on just a single principle every single day of the four-week challenge. This is the last of the seven principles that are designed to help you gain enthusiastic cooperation from others, so this is the last principle of this week. Next week, we will show you seven ways to build your next generation of strong leaders.

Give Strength Centered Compliments

“The life of many a person could probably be changed if someone would only make him feel important.” — Dale Carnegie

In our modern society, the art of giving people a sincere compliment has gone the way of the vinyl record or the Model T. You come across them every once in a while, but they are few and far between. I have asked hundreds of different audiences across the country why they think that we don’t give as many compliments as we probably should (or receive the number of compliments that we probably deserve), and I have heard every answer under the sun. But what I find most often is that we are mainly too self-centered and too busy to take the time to give a sincere compliment to our fellow man.

There is also a negative connotation about giving compliments to people. We think of people who give compliments as brown-nosers or kiss-asses. In the modern era, we have confused a sincere compliment with flattery. To most people they are one and the same.

Men are also less inclined to give compliments to female coworkers out of fear of being accused of harassment.

With all of these challenges to overcome, most people just don’t bother to compliment other people now. It’s easier just to keep to ourselves. However, a good leader who gives solid strength-centered compliments can really set herself apart from the crowd.

You can compliment people on what they have. A compliment like this would be something like “Nice tie.”

You can compliment people on what they do. “Thanks for turning in the report early,” is an example.

However, each of these types of compliments has a chance of being seen as insincere.

If you give the people around you a compliment based on who they are or a strength of character that you notice in them, the compliment will always be seen as sincere. Give them a strength-centered compliment and their confidence will grow. You will also be well thought of by that person. To do this, instead of complimenting them on what they do, look for the strength or the character trait that allowed them to DO the thing that you are admiring. For instance, what allowed the person to get the report completed early? It could be that the person has a great work ethic or is detail oriented or is a great time manager. If you compliment her on one of these characteristics, then the compliment will mean a whole lot more to the person.

“I may not mention this enough, but I just wanted to tell you how much I admire your work ethic. You are one of the few people who consistently turns in the reports before the deadline every time. I really appreciate that about you.”

Strength centered compliments will boost the confidence of your coworkers faster than anything else that you can do.

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