The importance of giving compliments freely

Last week, I indicated that a co-worker and I were on two different sides of the coin: I wanted Plan A and he wanted Plan B. We tried the “compromise” and it epic failed. Now it was time to pick one. Another co-worker suggested trying out each others shoes. Now it was time to make a decision.

I, and everyone in that room, was pleasantly surprised that no swords were pulled out during the discussion. We were apparently both professional, logical; we discussed needs versus preferences. We never went personal.

It went so well, that after the meeting an email was sent to our CEO, HR, VP, and Director complimenting us on our behaviour. It’s rare to see technical arguments that don’t end up heated or personal, apparently.

This is the first time I’ve been given a compliment on my professionalism. No one has ever said that. This comes at a time where I believe little in myself or my ability to control emotions. I was shocked.

For me, it was easy to not get personal: I already trust my co-worker (who I was in disagreement with) and have zero doubts about his priorities or competency. He is highly competent. I have a great deal of respect for him. Getting personal was never an option. The only option was to understand him and his position, and try and figure out why he couldn’t see my side 🙂 So it was always about that, about listening, understanding, and explaining. And it worked well.