Safety Publications/Articles

Taking A Compliment

Terry is a CFI - a good one, too. In fact, he's often on the receiving end of compliments. The only problem is that Terry (not his real name) doesn't know how to take a compliment. And he's not the only one.

A compliment is a gift offered by someone who appreciates your thoughts or actions. To dismiss it is like saying, "No thanks, I don't want your crummy gift."

Recently, I overheard Terry debriefing a student. The student said, "Terry, you're a good instructor. I learned a lot today. Thanks." To which Terry replied, "No big deal. See ya next lesson."

Terry's student left, and I moseyed over. I told Terry I thought the student was a little disappointed in his response to the compliment.

Terry replied, "Well, I didn't want to come across as arrogant."

"That's not what you're doing when you accept a compliment properly," I said.

Terry asked how to do this.

I replied, "Look the person in the eye and, in a sincere manner, say something like, 'Thank you. I appreciate your kind words.'"

You're more likely to come across as cocky by shuffling your feet, dropping your head, and saying, "Ahh, it's nothin', really."

Offering a compliment is often the only way students have to show appreciation for their instructor's efforts. Don't deny them that chance.

By Rod Machado

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