Compounded Compliments

Not too long ago, I was at the DMV (that’s the Department of Motor Vehicles if you happen to live in a state that calls it something different). I had to get my license, not because it was expiring, but because it was wearing out. It’s probably due to the fact that I travel a lot, so I’m constantly pulling it out of my pocket and putting it back in again.
Anyway, I’d taken my daughter Michaela with me to keep me company because, if you’ve ever been to a DMV office in New York City, then you already know what a nightmare it can be. There are lines here and lines there, numbers here and numbers there. Your position in both the lines and the number sequence determines how long you’ll be there…and that’s before even being seen.
So my daughter and I show up and we’re in a line of about eight people. While waiting, we have a chance to watch the woman who is working the line and notice that she’s super nice and super efficient. It doesn’t matter how many of us are standing there, waiting to talk to her, she treats each person with kindness and respect, giving them the forms they need to handle whatever business they’re there to handle.
When we finally make our way to the front, she is kind to us as well and tells us what forms we have to fill out. Then she shares how, once they’re complete, we won’t have to wait in line again. We simply come back up and she’ll take immediate care of us.
True to her word, this patient and friendly woman took our completed forms without making us stand in yet another line. Now with a number in hand, my daughter and I take a seat and, about five minutes later, we get called to counter.
We hand our paperwork to yet another exceptionally nice worker, do all of the things I had to do to get a new license and we’re ready to leave. However, before we exited the building, we went back to the first woman who helped us and, as we approached her, it was clear by the look on her face that she was ready for us to criticize her, maybe even chastise her for the long wait. But that wasn’t my goal.
Instead, I said to her, “My daughter and I were watching you in action and you do an amazing job.” I then shared with her how I felt that she was incredible at what she did, as well as how much I appreciated her kindness and assistance, treating us like we were the only customers in the room even though there were several others ahead of us. With tears in her eyes, she said how that was the nicest thing to hear, adding that no one had ever said that to her before.
This highlights the fact that I believe that we don’t give people enough compliments. This is especially true in the workplace, where it’s extra important because it validates our staff and makes them feel important. It tells them that we appreciate all that they do and notice when they do a great job.
This is critical because an appreciated employee is a loyal employee. It’s someone who will work a little harder or stay a little longer because he or she knows that you find them valuable. They know that they are an essential part of the team and they’re more than willing to do their fair share.
So, here’s my offer to you: If you own your own business, make it a point to pay attention to the times when your employees do something good. Share with them how much you appreciate their hard work and notice their effort. Compliment them freely for a job well done.
In this case, a little appreciation can go a long way as an employee who feels genuinely appreciated can potentially take your business a whole lot further than it could ever go on its own.

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