Let’s face it: Women judge other women. Whether it’s about a woman’s looks, or Instagram photos, or work performance, we all have something to say. And oftentimes, it isn’t nice (and usually said behind a person’s back).
It’s a practice that needs to stop.
Dr. Wendy Patrick is a behavioral expert, career trial attorney, and author. She explains that women — especially in the workplace — DO need to talk about other women, but in a positive light. That starts with praise. Real praise.
Why Praise is Important
Many of us spend countless hours at work. Sometimes, we see our co-workers more than our boyfriends, husbands, or children. “That is exactly why authentic praise and compliments are so important,” says Patrick, author of Red Flags: Frenemies, Underminers, and Ruthless People.
Praise makes people feel useful, important, and appreciated — leading to a sense of well being. Happy employees are productive employees. “Employees who feel valued are motivated to do the best job they can,” she emphasizes. Sincere praise and compliments from colleagues are important because they foster an environment of team playing and mutual respect.
Keep It Real
“Cheap flattery is unappealing — and usually obvious,” Patrick says. False flattery is often general, so focus on specific areas of admiration. Patrick suggests avoiding nonspecific compliments like, “You always look great.”
“We like specifics and find genuine praise authentically rewarding,” she explains. Too much generic praise can get annoying, because its repetition is suspect when it does not appear to be tied to any legitimate observation.
Praising Others is a Good Look
Whether or not you realize it, Patrick says praising others demonstrates self-confidence, strength, and leadership. “Strong, confident women admit they learn something new every day from their peers, supervisors, and subordinates.”
“Likability,” she adds, “also enhances perceived competence.”
Just Do It — In Moderation
If you’re not in the habit of giving praise or compliments to others, start slow. “Take some time to think about and list the specific positive attributes you admire about [your co-workers],” she advises.
And make sure you give praise in person, rather than email or text message.
“It feels good to genuinely enhance the lives of others,” she says. “You are contributing to a happy, healthy, productive home away from home for everyone.”