Quick Tips

The Compliment Circle: Would Your Company Try It?

April 23, 2024

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” — Mark Twain.

Do you feel as if the company, where you spend 45% of your waking life, needs an injection of positive mojo? Why is it that we often leave generosity, caring, selflessness and compassion at the door of the companies where we work?

Forcing culture from the top down is like shooting a basketball into one of those small bent rims at the State Fair – near impossible. Companies thrive because employees, not managers, take control of creating great culture. Employees are best at weeding out the Debbie Downers as well as attracting and even recruiting quality new hires.

Aren’t the best companies to work for those where employees treat each other with respect and kindness when the boss isn’t around?

Try this simple activity with your team to help build a more positive working environment.

At Brand Fuel, when I announce, “Team, we are going to try something new,” it is clear that they are in for something really wonderful or completely awful. I usually get more eye rolls and groan reactions than high fives and “yeah boyeees.” However, some ideas like “The 4 Hours of Silence,” make rejections worthwhile.

Introducing “The Compliment Circle.” This activity is titled after an elementary school exercise where children sit in a circle and say nice things about the person next to them. That’s it. And I promise that you will uncover smiles. You may even witness tears of fulfillment.

William James, 17th century American Psychologist said, “The deepest human need is the craving to be appreciated.” We all need to hear positive things from time to time. And while “thank you” is nice, it is not really a compliment.

Before you try your own Compliment Circle, consider these impactful themes to feature:

  1. Initiative
  2. New ideas
  3. Efficiency
  4. Loyalty
  5. Sensitivity
  6. Results
  7. Change
  8. Overcoming struggle

When we initiated The Compliment Circle at Brand Fuel for the first time, I knew we had created something special when an employee came into my office and shut the door behind him. He shared, with incredible pride and a smile I will never forget, that no one, not even his mom, had ever said those types of wonderful things to him.

I think Human Resources and Wellness professionals call this type of activity “positive corporate mental health.” I just think it’s something that embeds a little needed humanity into the workplace.

Give it a try at your next meeting and let me know how it works out.

Danny Rosin, Brand Fuel

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