Today is National Compliment Day! Created in the late 1990s by Debby Hoffman and Kathy Chamberlin, authors of the book Find Something Nice to Say, the date reminds us to use our words to brighten someone else’s day.
Compliments make people feel good, build trust, and increase the likelihood of positive behaviors being repeated—all outcomes that contribute to a winning team culture.
Hence, good teammates are never stingy with sincere compliments. They give them consistently and abundantly because they know compliments complement.
In grammatical terms, compliment and complement are homophones, words that sound the same but have different meanings or spellings.
A compliment is an expression of praise or admiration. It’s telling someone “Good job.” It’s letting them know their courage is inspiring or their fashion sense is amazing.
A complement is something that improves another or brings it to perfection, like adding a pocket square to an elegant suit or a belt to a stylish dress. The right lipstick can complement the color of a woman’s eyes. The right wine can complement the taste of a steak.
Both words are rooted in the Latin word complēre which means “to complete.”
When you give a teammate a compliment you endear yourself to the recipient. Your kindness imprints on their soul and their response imprints on yours. The exchange increases your connectivity, thereby increasing the team’s connectivity.
A connected team experiences better communication, higher investment, and a greater chance of completing its mission.
Research shows those short interactions where you tell a someone they did a good job and they subsequently thank you for recognizing their efforts have a bigger impact on relationships than most realize. The recipient experiences increased activity in the area of the brain associated with rewards, and so does the giver.
Think of the iconic line from the movie Jerry Maguire where Tom Cruise tells Rene Zellweger: “You complete me.” The line brought tears to both of their eyes. His words were a compliment. Speaking them led to a connection that complemented their lives.
The same happens to teams whose teammates pay compliments to each other.
Today, make a point to compliment your teammates. Let someone know they’re doing nice work. Tell someone you’re moved by their passion. Convey to someone how much their smile brightens your day.
Then do the same tomorrow. And the day after that, too. Doing so will validate their actions and bring value to your team.
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.