Many of us find it difficult to accept the praise, compliments, gifts, and service that is given to us by others. We can get embarrassed, timid or flat our deny those gifts. Some of our responses sound like this when someone offers us a gift or even a compliment:

“I wanted to give you this gift card as a thank you for your help the other day.”  -Person A
“Aww, you shouldn’t have…. I can’t accept this”  -Person B
“Sure you can, I know you love Starbucks.” – Person A
“It really wasn’t a big deal.” – Person B

We may deflect the compliment by giving out information instead of actually accepting the compliment.

“I like your new shoes!”, -Person A
“I picked them up last week on sale at the running store. They were a great deal.” -Person B

What happens when we deny other people’s praise. 

A compliment and gift is just as much about the giver as it is the receiver. When you battle, deflect or fail to acknowledge the praise, you are denying the joy that the giver receives by giving you the gift. It’s also denying their thankfulness which can be off-putting.  If someone realizes how much of a hassle it is to give you praise for a gift they are likely going to do it less in the future. 

We all want to be validated in what we do by those around us right? Be aware that when you push away the gifts and praise that it could have a lasting impact. A person should not have to argue or play a cat and mouse game with you to give you praise. 

What happens when you accept the praise.  

Accepting praise is not an ego thing unless you make it that way.  It’s also not about humility and modesty.  When you accept praise the right way you are strengthening the bond of the relationship. You are also showing the person that you are comfortable and confident in who you are as a person and leader. 

Tips to take praise well.

Say thanks. Acknowledge the compliment without the back and forth that we talked about earlier. Use what verbiage is most comfortable for you but be aware that some generations accept thankful responses differently. Many younger leaders say, “no problem” meaning that it was not a burden for them to help (even if it was). Older generations prefer “you’re welcome” because they may see the help as a task they completed. I rotate no problem, and you’re welcome depending on my audience. 

Remember the power of body language. Refer back to show #186 The Power of Body Langauge for tips on making sure you are communicating your non-verbals in the proper way.

Avoid sarcastic and dry-humor responses. I appreciate dry humor and sarcasm, but it has no place here.  I often hear this mistake in the running community.  You tell someone that their race time was great and they respond with something along the lines of, ” Well you don’t know many runners then.”  Avoid self-depreciation and subtlety burning your compliment giver in the process. 

Share the praise If you get compliments or praise on a project or service that was a group effort, say thanks and let the person know that you will pass the kind words on to the others involved. This makes the giver feel great and your team obviously will love to hear the positive feedback on their hard work. 

Accept praise and gifts.  You earned them! Both parties benefit when you are able to navigate those moments with acknowledgment and gratitude. 

Make a better tomorrow.