Increase Happiness in One Five Minute Conversation (or Less)

“People are driven as much or more by intrinsic meaning as they are by extrinsic rewards”

-Anthony Tjan, “Four Simple Ways to Make Your Employees Happier”

I’m still waiting for the day when someone sits across from me in an exit interview and says, “You know, you give way too much recognition around here.”

I’ve had enough of “the-people-here-are-really-nice” comments in exit interviews. Let’s go big. I want people to be so acknowledged, so cherished, so valued, that they complain about it.

Honestly, I don’t think that complaint would ever come if the compliments were sincere.

When was the last time you got a really good compliment for your work? Not the “nice job” or two thumbs up variety. I mean a truly sincere, awesome-in-the-real-sense-of-the-word compliment that made your heart sing?

Hopefully, it was within the last seven days. Thirty, tops.

Why? We all know why. Read any book, journal, article, or blog about employee engagement or retention and you will find some iteration of the word “recognition” as means for keeping your best employees. We all want to be recognized. I don’t think any of us wake up the morning stretch our arms, yawn, and think, “Man, I really hope work sucks today.”

We want to be valued, we want to contribute, and we want to know our contributions matter.

So when was the last time you gave a really good compliment? And not the “great work” or two thumbs up variety. I mean a truly sincere, awesome-in-the-real-sense-of-the-word compliment that made someone’s day?

According to the U.S. Bureau of labor Statistics, the number one reason people leave their jobs is that they "don't feel appreciated."

I’ve noticed a really good compliment follows this mathematical formula:

         Ridiculous sincerity (eye contact, no sarcasm, raw honesty)
   +    observant specificity (detailed behaviors not vague generalities)
   +    authentically stated (YOU)
   =    inspired and inspiring compliment that impacts culture

We know this is important. We know we feel good when our work is valued. Yet we don’t consciously and consistently go out of our way to acknowledge others.

Honestly, this is one aspect of hybrid coaching that works really well. The beauty of coaching is truly “seeing” people. The opportunity to acknowledge creates safety for others to soar.

So this is your challenge, should you choose to accept. Give one truly sincere and heartfelt compliment today. Just one. Start with this sentence, “I think you are one of the most amazing people I work with because….”

And then repeat tomorrow.
And the next day.
And the next.

And let me know how it goes.


Regional Finalist – West