Say good things

Solomon was about to build a temple. He knew that he needed help. His neighbor, King Hiram of Tyre, had cedar trees and expert manpower that Solomon required to build the temple. Solomon asked Hiram if he could send some help with this compliment: “As you know, there is no one among us who can cut timber like you Sidonians!” (Here is the full story.)

Hiram received the message and was happy to help. He responded by offering far more than Solomon had requested. Solomon left the door open for Hiram to charge whatever he wanted for the goods and services, but Hiram did not take advantage of Solomon’s offer. Instead, he only asked for food in payment.

Loads of business books have been written about this simple principle – if you compliment someone, they will usually be more willing to lend you a hand. But you don’t need to read an entire book to learn about encouraging others.

During this new year, I am actively going to practice giving thoughtful compliments. I won’t hand out praise expecting to get things in return. Instead, I will be seeking to build others up by highlighting their good characteristics. I’ll let results come as they may, but I won’t make pursuing rewards my goal.

Here’s the method I’ll use:

  1. Find a person I relate to who doesn’t normally get much praise. (We can make a bigger impact with those who don’t receive lots of kudos.)
  2. Observe what this person does well.
  3. Look at the ways they exercise their strength.
  4. Actively keep an eye out for the right time to give the compliment.
  5. Don’t overdo it. An extra step I’ll try to add is finding what I can learn from their strengths.

Join me – and let’s see what happens!

(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.)

7 thoughts on “Say good things

  1. Joseph Ruiz (@SMSJOE)

    I am in Paul, great routine (I am looking to develop some new ones this year) in addition to maintaining some old ones of course. Happy New Year. Thank you for your thoughtful contributions each month.


  2. Rich Dixon

    A great goal, and not as simple as it first seems. Easy to say, “Great job.” Much harder to take time to really understand what the person does, what it means to her, and the challenges she faces. Then you can offer encouragement that really matters, and build a relationship in the process, but you have to give something of yourself to do it.


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