When It Comes to Compliments, “One Size Fits All” Fits No One

Newly promoted into sales management, I was given the opportunity to attend management training classes. Of course, being young and full of myself, my thought process was, “what do I need training classes for … I know how to motivate people”. Fortunately, the trainer (his name was John) at one of the first classes I attended volunteered me to role play a situation with him where it was my job to recognize his achievements and compliment him.

After John had set the scene, he sat down in my seat in the meeting room and told me to begin the exercise. I announced that I had a plaque to present him and called him to the front of the room. He quietly told me that he had a wall full of plaques, more than he could count, and that they really did not excite him. He’d rather not get another plaque.

I asked him to come up anyway so that I could tell everyone about his accomplishments. He quietly told me that he was really a shy person who felt it was his job to do the best he could and being glorified in front of people really made him uncomfortable.

At this point, John let me off the hook and told me that not everyone likes to receive recognition in the same manner; and, that not everyone wanted to receive that recognition in the same way that I obviously liked. That experience of standing in front of a roomful of my peers and learning that I did not know everything started me on a quest to learn all that I could about what motivates people and how they want to be recognized for their achievements because John was right … different personality types have very different preferences when it comes to recognition and compliments.

Are you curious to know how different personalities want to be recognized? Next week, we’ll take a look at what works well with introverted personalities.

Tom Hoisington is a speaker, trainer, and author whose goal is to provide leaders and potential leaders with tools that empower them to build teams that are creative and cost effective along with a clearer understanding of how personality types interact within those teams. He can be contacted at tom.hoisington@eagleoneresources.com

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