“You are awesome!”

She smiled.

It felt good to compliment my coworker.

A few days went by and we had a nice chat about our new project. I didn’t know what to say so I went back to my old standby.

“You are awesome!”

I could see the smile was not quite as big. My compliment just didn’t have the impact it did the first time.

It made me think about how giving the right kind of appreciation matters. I did a little research. I found that being specific about what you appreciate helps people understand what about their actions matter to you.

Research

According to Professor Sadato, “To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. We’ve been able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise. There seems to be scientific validity behind the message ‘praise to encourage improvement’.(1)

I decided to do a little experiment at work. I wanted to compare people’s reactions to praise for general hard work, praise for specifically doing something well, and just telling them they are awesome.

After just a week I noticed a big difference in people’s reactions. I tried giving a compliment from three categories:

– Generic
– Well-timed generic
– Specific

I gave 10 compliments from each category.

My Results

I got six nice smiles when I gave a generic compliment to people after they did something well. I got five half-smiles after I went up to someone and surprised them and told them that they were awesome. I got 9 smiles and thanks when I was specific with my praise.

Then I added a fourth option. I added well timed and specific. This got the best reaction 10 out of 10 times I got a smile. It also made me feel the best.

I decided to spin the 4th one and instead of complimenting them directly I would compliment people for their hard work to other people. This one is my favorite. It allows me to sing other people’s praises who deserve it. The perk of doing this type of praise is it benefits me as well as the people I praise. It makes both of us look good.

When I started implementing all five, depending on the situation, that’s when I saw my relationships at work really blossomed. I felt more cared about and it helped me build confidence.

I didn’t expect that praising others would help me build confidence, but as I analyze it, it makes sense. I’m looking for positive things in others and it helps me create a more positive mindset.

Build Lasting Relationships to Grow Your Career

If you are ready to start building lasting relationships at work, you can start with a Sharing Gratitude Journal: a journal about other coworkers that helps build up your gratitude mindset.

At the end of each day, write down your “what” and your “why” about a coworker in your Sharing Gratitude journal.

A typical entry might look like this:

1. I’m grateful for Tania because she always gives the best greetings. She makes me feel welcome.
2. I’m grateful for my boss because she always finds time to check in with me.
3. I’m grateful for Adam because he gives me great feedback on my presentations.

I would suggest doing this every day for 30 days to build and strengthen your brains’ synapses, and just watch your work relationships blossom.

If you are interested, join our free 30-Day Bring Gratitude Challenge running Nov. 1st thru 30th. It’ll help strengthen your mindset. Come join us and you’ll get email updates and a private Facebook group. If you have any questions, I’ll be available 7 days a week during this time. My goal is to get the smartest and most caring people together to create an amazing community, so we can help each other learn from our mistakes and build a life that we love.

(1)Science Daily

Karl Staib is the author of Bring Gratitude. His passion for creating and maintaining a gratitude practice has no bounds. His goal is to get you and ten million other people to start a gratitude practice because it quiets the inner bully and builds a more resilient mindset.