Monday, June 15, 2009

The Power of Compliments

Do you enjoy being complimented? Do you give the occasional compliment to those around you?

Compliments can be encouraging. A compliment can make your day. It focuses on your achievements and attributes.

I had the privilege of having the late-Insoo Kim Berg teach me the relevance of compliments. Insoo Kim Berg, MSSW (1934-2007), was co-founder and director of the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee, WI. She developed the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) model with her partner, Steve de Shazer. A native of Korea, Insoo balanced her heritage with Western scientific training in her clinical practice and teaching.

Insoo suggested three approaches:

1) Direct compliment

2) Indirect compliment

3) Self-compliment

Which do you think Asians are most comfortable with: Direct, or indirect compliments?

When dishing (versus fishing for) compliments, ensure that you are genuine in your intention. If you are insincere, your receiver may respond awkwardly. When timed well, compliments empower staff and clients by enhancing their self-confidence. In the Transactional Analysis sense, compliments are a form of positive strokes. In Experience Orientated Management (EOM), Gary Yardley and Jan Kelly proposed Recognition as part of a rapport-building approach.

When leaders provide recognition, it gives their staff ‘courage’. Encouragement may be more relevant than ‘empowerment’. Empowerment involves taking responsibility and relinquishing authority. Often, managers prefer to hoard the authority, and pass on the responsibility.

For more about Solutions Focused interventions, especially in coaching and counseling please go to Brief Academy.

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