If you feel uncomfortable giving praise and recognition, research shows you’re not alone. And guess what? Your employees don’t care.

Research conducted by Christopher Littlefield on praise and recognition shows that while 88% of respondents associate feeling valued with recognition, nearly 70% also “associate embarrassment or discomfort with the process of being recognized.”

And a series of studies published in 2020 in “Personality and Social Science Bulletin” found that people tend to “experience considerable anxiety and concern about their competence in giving compliments.”

In other words, praise can be awkward on both sides.

The same series of studies found that many people significantly over estimate how uncomfortable the recipient will feel and significantly underestimate the effect a compliment will have. Any self-consciousness the other person may feel is far outweighed by how good they feel about being noticed, recognized and valued.

And if you feel like you tend to give ham-handed compliments, know that recipients don’t care about your delivery; they care about the quality of your compliment. The higher the praise, the better the person feels, regardless of whether you found the “perfect” words.

What matters is that you recognize the judgment behind the decision. The interpersonal skill behind the resolution. The effort behind the achievement. And, more importantly, that you praise it.