In recent weeks I've read quite a lot of articles about The Economic Theory of Complements. And it makes a lot of sense. There is a new wave of book called Managers and their Paradox. Authors Michael Webster and Robert Kaplan lay out in fine detail how much companies can learn from employee complements. They point out that employee compliments are a very useful tool to use in negotiations because they serve as a soft sell, especially when the employer offers something for nothing.
But what is the impact of complements on economics? Does it have any significant effect on productivity, sales, customer relations or employee motivation? These are questions that I addressed in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review.
First of all, let me say that there is nothing wrong with using complements. My point is not that they always work. My point is that they sometimes don't. And the important point to make is that it is possible to use them to your advantage. You need to know how to use them to your advantage.
When you ask an employee “How was your day?” the appropriate response is always, “Great! Great boss!” If you use complements in this way, you can have a positive effect on employee motivation. In addition, complements have other non-economic impacts, such as boosting self-confidence, improving performance, increasing productivity, expanding the network of friends, and so on.
The first thing that Webster and Kaplan point out is that a compliment is not the same as an instruction. Many employees are wary of giving feedback. And even when they do give praise, it may not seem sincere. Moreover, compliments are typically given in private and therefore may not be disclosed for fear of retribution. Employers should think carefully before they go overboard in providing complements.
Another economic impact of complements is that they lead to negative perceptions of the recipient. If the employee perceives that he is being praised incessantly, he may take this as a sign that he is inefficient and untrustworthy. The opposite is true, however. If he perceives that complements are rare and hard to get, he will feel that he is being praised but is too good to deserve it. Both perceptions are equally wrong.
Finally, complements may be viewed as an avenue for employees to express their unhappiness. In many companies, there is an enormous climate of stress and tension, caused by an increasingly productive but harassed workforce. Workers feel underappreciated, overworked, and burned out. If they are regularly praised, they will feel that they have more control over their lives and that they can bring about change.
On the whole, it is probably best to stick with words like ” compliments,” “thanks,” congratulate.” You know why. The recipient will appreciate the expression, and if it is sincere, the message will have more meaning than if it had been written in code. The recipient will also appreciate your consideration for him or her if you follow the old adage: “It's what you do that matters.” After all, isn't that why you are a manager?
One of the best things in life is seeing a smile on your parents' faces, and realizing that you are the reason. Just because someone else is not nice to us, doesn't mean we have to reciprocate in the same way. For every human in this world, God has given something noble and good in his heart. Always take care of your heart.
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