How to Boost Morale and Productivity By Giving Compliments

Yes, welcome to the biz communication Show. I’m your host, Bill Lampton, bringing you communication tips and strategies that will boost your business. Happy to have you with us on video. And on the podcast. Have you ever gotten advice from somebody who supposedly was a professional have a real veteran and your business? And they have high credibility, but you didn’t think their advice was right. It just may have been right for them, you thought but it certainly wasn’t right for you. That happened to me very early in my management career. As the vice president of a college, we called in some consultants to look at our program and help us design our next steps. One of the consultants who I had known for a good number of years, pulled me off to the side and said to me, you know, Bill, one thing I really want to advise you about is don’t ever compliment your staff people. I was a little bit shocked. And I wonder why somebody would say that he went on to say, well, you know, if you compliment them, they’re going to get too soft, too complacent. They’ll get lazy. They’ll, they’ll think you’re satisfied enough. Well, that was one of those pieces of advice that I got that innately I knew was off base, and I was not going to implement it. Even though I respected this guy’s career. It probably stemmed back to my reluctance to accept that probably stemmed back to watching my father managed a family department store for five decades. One of the things that he was very good at, among his, his other skills, such as his business acumen, one of the things he was very good at was complimenting people. In fact, he was very good at what I would call and in my section of the world, the southeastern United States, we would call it an attaboy are an atta girl, you pat somebody on the back, you do it, either physically or verbally, or both, but you complement them. And I, I found out from my father and from other professionals that I saw that that wasn’t the case. And so that’s why I’m sharing with you how to give compliments that improve morale, and boost production. And they will do that. Let’s take a sports analogy. I was a very avid golfer for many years started playing at age 13, played on my high school and college golf teams, played for decades loving the game and as as a person who wanted to get better at the game. Of course, I took a good number of golf lessons. Now, which pros did the most good for me? Would it be the teaching pro who spent the entire half hour saying Oh, no, that’s wrong? No, you haven’t got it wrong stance, wrong position as a bad move away from the ball. Look at how you’re holding the club. It’s just awful. No, I wouldn’t go back to that one. Because we weren’t getting anywhere. It’s not that I want to just praise it wasn’t unmerited. But I wanted a pro who would show me how to do something even demonstrated himself. And when he did that, and I did it correctly. Tell me that I did it correctly. I need that reinforcement. So let’s look at some very important guidelines about how to give compliments that will improve morale and productivity. Number one, make sure that the compliment is timely. Some managers might compliment their people in their annual performance review talking back about something that happened a long time ago, several months ago. And it’s nice to hear it then. But the best time to give a compliment is when somebody has done it. If they do something on Tuesday, don’t wait until two weeks from Tuesday. do that, do it as soon as you find out about it,
timeliness is very important because that gives the reward very close to the act. Now, I would say along this line, speaking of timeliness brings up the point of frequency. And frequency means that you can get into the habit. The worst extreme is not to ever compliment anybody in the other extreme is to compliment all of your employees too much. There isn’t a point where if you do it for every little act, such as, gosh, you know, you, you really folded that envelope. Well, if you do it for every little act, it loses its impact. So do it in a timely fashion. And yet, do it in a way that is not overdone. Okay, we’ll be back with a couple of more tips.
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Okay, back to our points now, and the next one I want to make is that the compliment needs to have what all of us know, is called authenticity. It needs to in other words, be believable. If for example, you are I would say to an employee, the way that you talked with that customer was so superlative, that nobody anywhere, and the whole wide world has ever matched that. And they could never exceed it, that’s the best than it ever will be. That gets into the point of what we could call fulsome praise. And once more, it’s got to be believable. For example, on a personal note, and I’m telling some of my own foibles, here, if somebody were to say to me, you know, Bill, you are really a great dancer. Nobody has ever said that. In fact, I remember and this is admitting my I guess my clumsiness and my feet. I remember in college, I was dancing with a girl who was not a regular date, we weren’t a fraternity party. And after we’d been dancing a minute or so she said to me, Bill, I just can’t figure out what you’re doing. I said to her, don’t worry, I can’t either. So remember, if a person has clumsy feet, like I do, don’t tell them they’re a good dancer. If a person is doing something, and you compliment them about it, but your compliment sounds unrealistic, then it loses its point. So keep in mind these factors that we have talked about, remember to give your compliment close to the time of the activity. Don’t give compliments too often. Because people will wonder about your sincerity. They pat on the back, they attaboy and they add a girl, make sure that they sound authentic. And don’t tell any something telling somebody something that they wouldn’t believe if you do all of these, you’re going to have a very happy team. You’re going to have a team with good morale. And good morale, as we know leads to productivity. And we also know that productivity can lead to profits. I go back again to what I said at the first if I were to pick out some of the worst advice that I ever heard, as a manager from someone who was a true A veteran, it would be that advice build, don’t ever compliment your people. Throughout my 20 year management career, I followed the guidelines that I’m talking with you about. And sometimes, more often than not possibly. I worked for supervisors who did not do that. And I know it impacted it reduced my my morale and it also reduced my productivity and on the positive side, the few that I worked for who were reinforcing my actions by supportive words, they were indeed boosting my morale and my productivity.
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