Monday, March 31, 2014

Compliments Are Brutal

I'm going out on a limb today. I'm trusting you all...and I'm going to share what may sound like a ridiculous issue in my professional life. So if you're going to keep reading, you have to waive your right to call me names at the end.


Two Out of Three Ain't Bad, Right?

Part of what is supposed to make up a human resources practitioner's DNA is the ability to do three things well: recognize, praise, and in return receive praise. I'm reasonably effective at the first two. My organization does a lot of recognition both individually and collectively. My HR team sends positive notes to each other, brings in snacks to share, and supports one another on most days.

I like the first two....recognition and praise.

Third One Is Not A Charm 
I'm not sure what happened with my HR wiring, but I have a difficult time receiving praise. Sure, I can put a smile on my face, and act as gracious as the next person; but on the inside I'm wishing I could simply move on to that next person faster than a Steven Stamkos slap shot moves toward the net.

I warned you...not a real problem, right? Probably some sort of character flaw that I get too worked up about. Maybe I should follow the advice of so many "experts" out there and just let it go? Maybe.

Except I can't.

What's Going On Here

So what gives if I'm writing about how uncomfortable I am with positive feedback? Am I secretly trying to trick all of you into sending me positive notes to help bolster my self-esteem? Um, no. Fortunately I'm pretty solid in the self-esteem department (thanks Mom and Dad.)

I know it isn’t easy to get feedback – bad or good – and most “things” are about teaching you how to accept bad feedback and turn it into change. Sometimes good feedback is also hard to hear and accept (insert Jay here) – but there is something to learn from good and there aren’t a lot of “things” that teach you how to do it. In fact, society often calls it bragging!

If we want our feedback to be heard – that’s what we do all day as HR leaders - maybe we need to be sure we hear the feedback we get from others – even good – as it is an opportunity to learn and grow.  When we don’t hear it or accept it, then we don’t do either one.  If we practice what we preach, then we need to hear all feedback. 

How About You 
I think the real reason I'm putting out such a personal, and candidly a bit embarrassing issue, is that I'm trying to push myself in my writing and leadership; and yes, that means tackling a very personal issue that doesn't seem to "fix" itself.

Okay, I'm letting you out of our deal. You can feel free to give me a virtual body slam over this issue. It's okay. I'm really experienced at handling the negative stuff.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Special thanks to Linda Aldred for her contributions to the development of this post.



  1. Jay...this is awesome...I can totally relate. You want to know what's really f*cked up though? As much as I hate receiving praise (I don't like being in any limelight) I still crave it! I'm all sorts of confused sometimes. *sigh*


    1. I'm with you Ernie! Thanks for the feedback...and sharing!

  2. Great one is very informative....thanks for sharing..

  3. A compliment says something good about someone or something but should be brutal....thanks

  4. Jay great post done by you.....daily i will be checking your blogs is very impressive...