It's part of the etiquette of live jazz and blues music to applaud at the end of solos, even as the next one begins or the whole combo kicks in to restate the melody and wrap up the song. At the end of the song, of course, there's the usual round of applause (and depending on how rowdy the joint or the crowd is, whistles or hoots of praise).
But this is different: it is lighter, more like a golf clap; it happens immediately as the player concludes his few moments at the song's center and it fades out politely to give attention to whatever comes next.
I want that for my coworkers, too.
Why is it more appropriate to applaud three minutes of inspired performance on the keyboard of a Hammond organ than three days of inspired performance at the keyboard of a Mac Book Pro?
Maybe that needs to change.
When a coworker solves a gnarly programming issue, crafts an elegant business solution to a client's problem, signs a difficult deal, or gets a recalcitrant client to pay their bill, how about a tasteful show of appreciation for an especially deft solo effort. It takes no less work to develop the skill to deliver for an elegant software or business solution than it does to learn how to craft a tight solo.
At a Jazz performance, it only takes one person to get a gentle drizzle of applause started, two or three more to make it spread through the room and reach the player. When it does, the audience gets a little nod of thanks from the performer. And that feels good, too: you've connected with the star. You get to bask a little in the reflected glow of the crowd's adulation: which you may have even started.
Next time someone does a star turn at work, why not show him or her some appreciation right then? Don't stop everything: the song needs to keep on playing. Don't wait for an "official recognition" event at the project's conclusion, either, but offer up a little adulation as the next player begins his solo or as the whole team spools up to bring back the melody and take us home.
And when the whole song — or project — is finished, be sure to express your appreciation for the whole thing: the combo deserves thanks as a group, just as each player deserves a little praise at the end of her solo.