Compliments Shown to Generate Multiple Benefits for Recipients

Sunday, November 01, 2015
(photo: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Receiving a compliment not only can feel good, it can cause people to be healthier and more successful, both at work and in life.


Those are the conclusions found in a Harvard Business School paper that reported positive feedback from relatives, friends and coworkers produced many benefits for individuals because of “best-self activation.”


“People whose best-self concepts were activated felt better and were more resilient to stress, more resistant to disease and burnout, better at creative problem solving and performance under pressure, and formed stronger long-term relationships with their employer,” researchers Daniel M. Cable, Francesca Gino, Jooa Julia Lee and Bradley R. Staats wrote.


The researchers looked at multiple studies, one of which involved 75 people being asked to perform various tasks, including coming up with a list of uses for a newspaper in three minutes, according to Quartz. Half of the group received notes from family, friends, and colleagues, while the other half didn’t. Those participants who got compliments performed better at their task than the control group.


The researchers also concluded that when employers remind their workers about their “best selves,” they’re less likely to burn out or quit.


“These results suggest that there is considerable lost potential in keeping silent about how others affect us when they are at their best,” they wrote.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

You Should Demand Compliments from Friends and Colleagues, a Harvard Business School Study Says (by Olivia Goldhill, Quartz)

How Best-Self Activation Influences Emotions, Physiology and Employment Relationships (by Daniel M. Cable, Francesca Gino, Jooa Julia Lee and Bradley R. Staats, Harvard Business School) (abstract) (pdf)


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