Vocalizing compliments

Here’s something that I’ve been learning and experimenting with since I started working in and amongst a team of software developers. While the principle isn’t limited to software development teams, it comes up quite obviously because of the measurable nature of the work that we do.

Take every opportunity to celebrate and compliment good work.

Opportunities to diss incompetance are a dime a dozen. Instances where good work peeks it’s little head out and waves timidly are few and far between. Times when one genuinely identifies and appreciates good work are even rarer. (Pretentious shoe polishers need not apply)

The compliment needn’t be overcomplicated or elaborate. Just make a statement about what you appreciate. Some examples:

“Dude, that component you put works really well.”
“Jimmy, really love the docs you wrote on that library.”
“Hey Bill, you gotta see what Steve just did. It’s freakin’ cool.”

With software, no one wins for being vague and kind: a defect is a defect, and git commit messages never lie. But a seized opportunity to praise good work is a beautiful thing.