“Self-praise stinks,” my grandfather used to say. He said it countless times during my childhood. I don’t think I really appreciated it until I was older.
The message is that no one wants to hear you praise yourself. Praise is always best when it comes from other people. When the best community managers receive praise about their community, they masterfully redirect it in another direction.
When I’m in that mode, when I’m in that community manager mindset, my job is to shift praise away from me.
I’m always praising other people. When we are successful, it’s because of our members and my moderators. I make a habit of naming specific people when we reach milestones. One milestone it might be my staff members. Another it might be a collection of members who have done great things within the community.
When people send me praise for the community, I use that as an opportunity to spotlight things. You really love the content of our community? We’re fortunate to have great members who contribute. Do you like the environment that we offer? Thank you, that means a lot. I’m grateful to have the support of a team of moderators that help me to work toward that goal. I appreciate and redirect. Not always, but as I can.
Doing this doesn’t demean my work, it enhances it. Community managers have a direct hand in the success of their communities. I would argue that they are the single biggest factor, overall. When your community is successful, a lot of that has to do with you. But that you recognize that means little. That you recognize others means a lot.
The funny thing is that, when you do this, more people actually do praise you and your work. When people see that you are always praising others and not simply taking credit yourself, they feel more inclined to demonstrate that they appreciate what you do. You recognize them, so it drives them to recognize others, including you. It’s circular. When you shift praise, you keep the circle going.