A Compliment Goes a Long Way

May 1, 2006

The best way to perpetuate behavior that you appreciate is to reward it.

Not only can a compliment make a big difference in a person's day, but rewarding behavior you appreciate is also the best way to perpetuate it. I try to give at least 5 compliments a day to nurses, paramedics, clerks, technicians, and other members of my team-and to my patients and their families. Here are a few good examples I've overheard from other physicians:

  • "Thanks for watching my back."

  • "Most people wouldn't have picked that up."

  • "I'm glad you asked."

  • "That's a great idea."

  • "I know you've been here a long time; thanks for being so patient."

When someone does a truly outstanding job, I write a note or formal letter of praise.

- D. Brady Pregerson, MD
   Los Angeles