The Power of Giving Compliments – Enhancing Virtual Collaboration

Blog | workplace happiness

  • Joost post
  • workplace happiness

In our series "Building a Healthy Work Environment," Joost Drieman, an experienced senior certified coach and business advisor, shares over 35 years of expertise in guiding companies towards thriving work environments. In this episode, we delve into the transformative impact of compliments, particularly in the realm of virtual collaboration.

Understanding the Essence of Compliments

In our quest for building thriving work environments, we often overlook one of the simplest yet most powerful tools at our disposal: giving compliments. Joost Drieman, our seasoned senior certified coach and business advisor with over 35 years of experience, sheds light on the transformative power of compliments in both face-to-face and digital settings.

A compliment is more than just a few words of praise; it's a token of appreciation, a gift of acknowledgment. It strengthens what's going well, whether it's an individual's performance or their character traits. From recognizing someone's positive influence to appreciating their appearance, the spectrum of compliments is vast and meaningful. Some examples: 

-        Character: “You have such a positive influence”

-        Appearance: “This suit you wear makes you younger”

-        Meaning: “You make me believe in this”

-        Opportunities “The best is yet to come, thanks to you”.

Giving a compliment is a sign of mindfulness. It makes us more aware of the good developments and positive atmosphere in business and our private life.

The Social Lubricant: Why Compliments Matter

Compliments serve as social lubricants, facilitating the building and nurturing of relationships. In a workplace context, they play a crucial role in starting conversations, maintaining connections, and fostering a sense of belonging and appreciation among colleagues. They affirm right behavior and actions, boosting morale and productivity. Several studies (e. g. Boothby, Zhao & Bohns 2020) report that compliments enhance performance, boost self-perception, and affirm right behaviour and actions.

'Based on the thought "everything that gets attention will grow", we consciously choose to pay attention to what we want more of.’

Joost Drieman

In today's increasingly digitalized work environments, where face-to-face interactions are often limited, the significance of compliments becomes even more pronounced. In the absence of physical proximity, digital compliments act as vital connectors, bridging the gap between remote colleagues and fostering a sense of camaraderie across virtual spaces. They serve as reminders of the human element in digital interactions, infusing warmth and positivity into otherwise impersonal communication channels. As remote work becomes more prevalent, the need for sincere and meaningful digital compliments grows, serving as pillars of support and encouragement in an evolving professional landscape.

Overcoming Hurdles in Giving Compliments

 Despite their profound impact, many people find it challenging to give compliments, especially in a digital context. Some may underestimate their value, fear giving them in the wrong way, or simply lack the habit of expressing appreciation regularly. However, the key lies in authenticity. Compliments must be genuine reflections of what we truly feel, delivered with sincerity and specificity. 

The Art of Giving Compliments: Nurturing Positive Connections

 A good compliment is concrete, positive, and supported by specific examples. It is best delivered in person, accompanied by a genuine smile. If you work together on a remote basis, here are some additional ideas on how to give compliments effectively in a virtual collaboration setting: 

1.     Utilize Virtual Meeting Platforms: Take the time to give the person a video call, where your facial interactions can be seen. Start a video conference with a genuine compliment about a colleague's recent achievement or contribution to set a positive tone for the meeting and create a supportive atmosphere. You can also use the chat function to send a quick appreciation message or use the 'raise hand' feature to publicly acknowledge someone's contribution.

2.     Send a Message or Note: Sending a thoughtful email acknowledging someone's hard work or innovative idea demonstrates appreciation and strengthens interpersonal bonds, even in the absence of face-to-face interaction. Consider making it even more special with a personalized digital note or e-card sent to team members. Include specific details about why their contribution was valuable and how it positively impacted the team or project.

3.     Social Posts: Social media platforms and digital collaboration tools offer additional opportunities to give compliments and show appreciation. Consider commenting on a colleague's LinkedIn post or Slack message to commend their insightful thoughts or congratulate them on a project milestone. This not only boosts their confidence but also reinforces a culture of recognition within the digital workspace.

4.     Create a Recognition Channel: Establish a dedicated channel on your team's communication platform (such as Skype, Slack, or Microsoft Teams) where team members can publicly recognize and praise each other's achievements.

5.     Appreciation Wall: Create a virtual appreciation wall or board on your intranet, where team members can post digital notes, messages, or shout-outs to recognize and appreciate their colleagues.

6.     Virtual Appreciation Events: Organize virtual appreciation events or ceremonies on your intranet, where team members can come together to celebrate milestones, achievements, or exceptional performance.

7.     Peer-to-Peer Recognition Programs: Implement a peer-to-peer recognition program on your intranet, where team members can nominate their colleagues for outstanding work or acts of kindness.

8.     Encourage Feedback Loop: Encourage a culture of reciprocal feedback on digital platforms by inviting team members to respond to compliments or express appreciation in return.

General tip: Avoid generic praise or linking compliments to past criticisms. Instead, focus on highlighting specific achievements or positive traits. By incorporating compliments into our daily interactions, we not only uplift others but also contribute to a more positive and successful workplace culture.

Conclusion: Cultivating a Culture of Appreciation

In essence, the art of giving compliments extends seamlessly into the digital realm, serving as a beacon of positivity and connection in our increasingly virtual work environments. By embracing this practice and incorporating it into our digital interactions, we can cultivate a culture of appreciation and support that transcends physical boundaries and fosters a sense of unity and camaraderie among remote teams.

Annika Willers

Manager Internal Communication

Annika Willers

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