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Your advice for “A Chronic High Fiver”

May 2, 2014 By Editor

March dilemma - high-fiveLast month, Dana, a project manager wrote:

“Every time my coworker meets a goal, he wants to “high-five” everyone in sight. It's driving us crazy. How to get him to just stop but still give him the congratulations he deserves?”

We threw the question open to our Facebook friends and solicited a roomful of salespeople (who are very goal oriented) for some advice for Dana. Their responses boil down to three kinds of advice.

  • Divert his penchant for attention
  • Spread the cheer
  • What's the problem?

Divert his penchant for attention

These suggestions offer alternative ways to celebrate success.

  • Jason thinks the “Slow Clap,” will “give him the recognition he deserves, keeps everyone’s hands busy, which he’ll have to respect, and has the added benefit of being slightly sarcastic, while still being encouraging.” (See how the Slow Clap works in this YouTube video.)
  • Andrew suggests, ” Encourage him in other ways besides the high five. Bring out a piece of paper with a hand, a circle around that hand and the text, “HIGH FIVE ZONE!” Now, everyone can be happy, and he has a long pathway to tweaking down the hand slaps.”
  • Jane Lorimar recommends, “First of all, examine why is this irritating. If it’s disruptive to others meeting their goals, then it’s a legitimate issue. He’s proud and it helps the company reach goals so rather than “be crazy” with his behavior, change the methodology he uses to celebrate goal attainment. Old fashion way: Post a high five hand print on a poster, place the poster in the break room and anyone meeting goals can add one. Low tech way: Send high-five email v. physical exchange”
  • Andrew agrees. “Encourage him in other ways besides the high five. Bring out a piece of paper with a hand, a circle around that hand and the text, “HIGH FIVE ZONE!” Now, everyone can be happy, and he has a long pathway to tweaking down the hand slaps.”

Spread the cheer

Why should only one achiever get recognized? These ideas open up congrats to everyone.

  • Danielle suggests, “Have the office send out a company-wide email about how they want to give all employees the recognition they deserve when they meet a goal. When an employee meets a specific goal, a personalized email will be sent out to the whole company. That will give our “high fiver” the recognition he gets from the high-fives. It would also require him to take action to get that recognition and satisfy his “craving” to do something once he reaches his goal.”
  • Katrina agrees. “Being recognized for accomplishments is very motivational for some. It seems like the co-worked just wants to feel recognized and appreciated for his accomplishments. Although there is no surefire way to get him to stop, he is obviously driven by recognition, so maybe your team could spin it to create some type of small reward each time anyone reaches a set goal. Then, everyone would be motivated to be recognized, and hopefully the co-worker would focus more on achieving the chosen award and forget about the high-fiving.
  • Noelle feels money will be the motivator to change behavior. “A high five jar. Suggest that every time he high-fives someone he's going to have to put a quarter in the jar for the next coffee run. Nothing stops people dead in their tracks like the threat of plunking down their hard earned cash for a completely stupid reason.”

What's the problem?

So he high-fives. These folks don't see the problem.


‪Mike Costello‘s post on Facebook tipped us off to his trade show background: “Tell him we don't hi five until we are show ready!! Then you can hi five!!
  • Noelle adds, “In actuality, an employee who is busy doling out congrats is much better than one doling out gossip, malice, complaints, or harassment. Every office has an oddball. It’s probably a good thing yours is the type who only wants to share the joy of a job well done.”
  • On Facebook ‪Bree Burns was to the poijnt: “I say high-five him if it makes him so happy, poor guy!”

Which solution do you think would work best with a chronic high fiver?


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