How Compliments Help Motivate and Find Value In Others

(This article was originally published in 2009 and is even more applicable today.)

Free Compliments! What a great idea!

Bummed out by all of the negativity on the airwaves regarding world affairs and the economy, two sophomores at Purdue University in Indiana took to the streets to make a difference by doling out compliments and brightening the days of passing pedestrians. Once a week, no matter the weather they stand outside, shout out compliments and spread good cheer, motivated only by the simple notion “that not enough people do nice things anymore.” Take a look by clicking here!

As a Hoosier, I must say that I am quite proud of these two for trying to make the world a better place. As a Bonfire Trainer, I am equally proud because their positive message is one that we have been teaching in our techniques for years. Those in management or leadership positions ought to take note of “The Compliment Guys” as an example of “doing good” for no payoff other than the simple satisfaction that comes from doing the good deed itself (this lesson is often lost on Corporate America).

We all want to feel valued! And that includes Customers and Colleagues. None of us want our efforts to go unnoticed, yet unfortunately that is often what happens as we busy ourselves with obligations, meetings, deadlines, etc… When these obligations overtake our lives, we can easily miss opportunities for affirming and appreciating the people around us. It is essential to our overall well-being to take time out to affirm our colleagues, appreciate our customers and find value in each other. And it’s easy to do! Appreciation for others can be demonstrated in the simplest of ways. For example, you might…

Embrace new ideas with an open mind


• Acknowledge positive personal or professional changes in others
• Be generous with accolades
• Recognize someone for a personal or professional accomplishment
• Communicate your delight with a personal handwritten note
• Congratulate a colleague with a special treat
• Encourage teamwork
• Open doors and hold elevators
• Give someone a ‘cut in line’ ahead of you
• Compliment a customer…


…and the list goes on and on. As we’ve all heard, it’s the little things that matter. The little things we say and do that make another person feel good or smart or valued. Showing appreciation or giving a compliment can take just a moment to do, but it can go a long way toward strengthening a relationship or even improving the day of a complete stranger. And in turn, it will make us feel better too. And that’s a Win Win!