Everyone knows they can send a complaint to a business that has annoyed or inconvenienced them in some way. This can be an incredibly important way for a company or an individual to know that they’ve made a mistake and need to change how they behave in the future.
Sometimes I wonder if people also realize that businesses also need compliments, though.
I’ve worked at places that accepted both kinds of feedback, and the number of times I remember hearing praise is so uncommon that I vividly recall every single one of them.
(Interestingly enough, the places where I’ve volunteered have had a higher percentage of positive feedback. It was still always lower than the number of complaints we received, but I wish I knew why this was so. Do organizations that rely on volunteer labour tend to attract more appreciation from the people who use them? I’d do a study on this topic if I were independently wealthy, but I digress.)
Here’s the thing: compliments matter just as much as constructive criticism.
When I’ve received compliments in the past, they didn’t just make my day. They were the highlight of my entire week. I remember literally skipping home from work one day years ago after someone I’d been assisting said something kind about me.
It felt so incredible to realize that someone noticed all of the hard work I’d been quietly doing and was thoughtful enough to mention it out loud.
Hearing positive feedback about a coworker or fellow volunteer is nearly every bit as exciting. I absolutely love knowing that the people I work with are succeeding. It makes me want to put twice as much effort into whatever it is that we’re trying to accomplish because of all of the tangible proof we’ve just been given of how much our actions matter.
So often you only hear feedback when you’ve done something wrong. It’s wonderful to also hear about something you’ve done right!
Compliments affect people on a pragmatic level, too. Many employers factor these things in when making decisions about raises or promotions. A single appreciative message from a stranger probably won’t make a big difference either way, but a history of them could lead to some very happy news for the person you verbally applauded in the future.
I don’t know about you, but I want the helpful people I meet in life to be recognized and rewarded.
This is why I contact organizations when the people working for them delight me in some way. It is also why I hope you’ll start doing the same thing. Our world would be a much better place if everyone was just as eager to pass on compliments as they were to complain about the things that dissatisfy them.
Will you join me?