I was talking to my friend Susan last week. During our conversation, she mentioned compliments. It made me remember a while back having come across the HBR weekly newsletter they call Ascend. Aimed at up-and-coming professionals, their approach is decidedly different than the tone and vibe of other HBR channels. And they have an Instagram. Perusing through that, I found their post that highlighted a statistic about compliments:
70% of people associate embarrassment or discomfort with both giving and receiving compliments.
Right!? To this day, I’m one of those seventy percent whose natural inclination is to do everything I can to get the spotlight off me and who sometimes second-guesses the simple act of giving a compliment. At one point now I’d like to think maybe ten years ago, my mom gave me a good piece of advice I haven’t forgotten: ‘Thom, you need to learn to accept a compliment with grace.’
It was at that time I began managing teams and really acknowledged how powerful a compliment could be. About the work someone did, about the way they spoke up and challenged something I said, about how they showed up everyday.
I still catch myself wanting to compliment someone and doing a double-take. I have no idea why. It of course feels really good. As far as receiving one, I’m still learning how to be better at taking my mom’s advice.