Knowing how to praise someone professionally is vital to any role. From relationship building to dynamic teamwork, your words of encouragement can cultivate a greater sense of belonging in the workplace. Compliments come in many forms. It’s important to know your audience and abide by office etiquette. Don’t let business formalities or fear of saying the wrong thing keep you from commending a colleague on a job well done. You can flatter peers and/or superiors with professional poise. Just remember these two things: integrity + distinction.
How to Praise Someone Professionally:
Part 1: Integrity
You may recall the expression, “If you don’t have somethin’ nice to say, don’t say nuthin’ at all.” Thumper shares the advice from his father in the Disney movie, Bambi. It’s a well-intended rule. Ugly truths are impolite. However, it’s important to recognize the inverse. Because your “somethin’ nice” is also not worth saying if it is not rooted in truth. In fact, when your sentiment lacks authenticity, it’s not really nice. You want to hone in on what is honorable about the person you wish to praise. You can effectively communicate your compliment if you always remember that flattery is best served with authenticity.
Part 2: Distinction:
In addition to delivering a genuine compliment, your praise should be distinctive. Sometimes, generalities can be perceived as ingenuine. So, the more specific you are, the better! Knowing how to praise someone professionally is one thing. Understanding how to recognize individuality is another. Every workforce is full of unique talents. And while many are lucky enough to share all of their special skills on behalf of their job function, others are not. What creative thoughts, personal strengths and character attributes do your coworkers possess? Perhaps there are some to be discovered. Not every unique talent is showcased on a regular basis. If you notice something stellar about your peer or superior, recognize it. More importantly, acknowledge why it’s special.
A work environment that supports personal and professional endeavors can create a more positive experience for all.