Compliment Who? Why Would I Want To Do That?

In Penelope Trunk’s book, Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success, (shipping from Amazon!)

She shares a tip that is incredibly brilliant –

Here is tip #21 from the book: Mud Slinging Means You’re Losing Ground
If you want people to like you, give them compliments. I know, that sounds like I’m telling you to brownnose. Instead, I’m telling you to find genuine ways to compliment people, which require spending a lot of time looking for the good in people.

The difference between a genuine compliment and a desperate brownnosing attempt is empathy and insight, according to Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, Harvard Graduate School of Education psychologists and co-authors of How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation.

This insight is extremely easy to see, but very difficult to do – Penelope’s right that it requires a lot of time looking for the “good” in people. Especially when, in the shifting tides of office politics and commercial longevity at an all time low, the first thing you have to figure out is who should be the focus of your attention. I thought for a long time that it was this particular person within our organization, but in one misguided step, that person was no longer around.

Did I waste time learning what this person was about? I sincerely hope not, because what I did learn was how to “learn” people. What makes a person happy/sad? What makes that same person introverted and contemplative? What is needed to bring the inner person out that needs the compliment so they’ll shine even more?

There are a million questions and obviously there is no way to begin to cover even a small fraction of the intricacies of the human psyche – that’s what doctors and lawyers and psychiatrists and psychologists, and did I say lawyers? to figure out.

But take the time to learn those around you. You really don’t know when that co-worker will be granted management status…over your department. It’s important to make everyone around you feel special – because in their own right, they are. No matter how deeply you may disagree with that person sharing a cubicle with you or how depressing they make you feel – we’re all going through something right now. I know we live in the “me” world right now – but – what the heck is that?

Do we (I) write just to see our fingers tapping on the keyboard or do we (I) really have something important to say that matters to anyone? I want my words to mean something – I want them to surprise, shock & make someone think…BUT I don’t want it to be in a manner that would disgust someone or make them think less of me as a person or an employee or an employer.

They say that every word we send out in a blog, email, Facebook page will live in eternal infamy – positive or negative. – So maybe I don’t have as many readers as I’d like – maybe that’s ok…for now!


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