My mother has a sense of style that hasn’t let up even as she’s moved into her 90’s.
She loves quality clothing and has a clear understanding of what styles and colours look best on her.
When I talked to her recently, she shared that when she had been out for her daily walk, a young woman she estimated to be in her early 20’s was walking her dog on the opposite side of the street. To her surprise, the woman, crossed the street to speak to her.
The young woman greeted her, told her how lovely she looked, and went on to compliment her on being so fashionable. She said she especially loved her trendy pink Bermuda shorts, with the pink sandals and stylish pink and navy floral shirt.
My mother savoured that compliment as she shared it with me. While she definitely does get compliments from her family and others she knows, it’s just that there’s something about a stranger going out of their way to pay a compliment that made it so meaningful.
As such it got me thinking.
While we’re supposed to be grown-up and one would think we weren’t in need of external compliments, the bottom line is that it made her feel good. As such it was such an important gift.
Even though the experts say flattery will get you nowhere, it might just be that compliments are even more important today because they are rare and unexpected.
Today’s stress too often results in people being wrapped up in their own work and personal lives, and not making the time to recognize and validate others.
Regardless, it might just be that paying compliments is a key skill for both personal success and workplace leadership.
Whether you’re dealing with your workplace colleagues, boss, friends or families, an authentic, meaningful and well-placed compliment will make both you and the recipient feel good.
Complimenting your boss is impactful because they hardly ever get them.
Complimenting your colleagues is effective because it will make them appreciate your attention to detail and want to work with you. Some studies even indicate that people who pay compliments are often perceived as being smarter.
Family and friends will appreciate that you value them and aren’t taking them for granted.
Keep in mind though that we’re not talking here about generic, cliché run-of-the mill compliments. The cardinal rule of paying compliments is that they need to be distinguished, insightful, honest, and specific. It means paying attention and noticing something that is being done well by the other party.
Compliments also need to be timely. They are most effective if they are delivered immediately after someone has done something praiseworthy. On the other hand, sometimes, timing is everything and if you see a friend, family member, or workplace colleague in a slump, a well-placed compliment could have an uplifting and significant impact.
However, as with most things, compliments are also about balance so you also need to be careful about paying too many compliments or they won’t be seen as valuable.
There’s no doubt the compliment that young woman paid to my mother was a lovely gift but it also served as a reminder that we could all be a little kinder and more complimentary. It’s a gift we all have the capacity to give and the best part is that it doesn’t cost us anything. The added bonus is that it will make us feel better too.