Being a leader is putting others in a position to be successful. If you have read my previous stuff, you know I work that sentiment into a lot of my posts. I believe this wholeheartedly. Sure, there are more responsibilities when you’re put into a position of leadership but at its core, it is the people that follow. People make leaders, not the processes they create. When leaders lose sight of that, they often find themselves without a following. Hence, they are no longer a leader.
Putting one of your people into a position to be successful should involve a fair amount of coaching. As a coach, correcting negative behaviors and reinforcing positive behaviors is a skill like any other. This is going to be my topic over the next several blog posts, but today, I’m here to chat about how to reinforce good behavior through positive affirmation.
Why Use Positive Affirmation
Besides the obvious “say something nice or don’t say anything at all” sentiment, positive affirmations can also be used as a powerful development tool. With only a small amount of effort, you can start seeing positive performance trends in all of your team members. Affirmation can cause development to excel better than a personal development plan or even promotion chasing. It’s certainly a better tactic than using fear to get what you want.
What is Positive Affirmation
Positive affirmation simply lets the person know that a behavior you witnessed was worth doing continually. That’s all there is to it. By recognizing something small like a well-written email or a unique troubleshooting process, you have a chance to lock that behavior into the individual’s skill set for a long time. Your people will multiply in their career with a few acknowledgments on their day to day work. Good leaders do this.
How to Use Affirmation?
There are 3 ways I like to do this. The first is through the One-on-One (O3) platform. Prepare yourself to discuss something every O3. This takes discipline. Train yourself to look for positive behaviors and then log them for later discussion. This can be tough because it’s easy to fall victim to letting small things fall through the cracks. Doing something good without being asked, for example. If you are not disciplined, work will happen, and good behavior has potential to go undiscussed for weeks, if at all.
If you are struggling here, try using immediate feedback. If you see an email go out with excellent communication or you witness them helping a team member in a great way, tell them now. It doesn’t have to be grand. A simple “great communication on this” can go a long way. Again these examples could wait until the O3, but if you consider it a priority, you should go ahead and act immediately.
The last way you should give positive affirmation is at a debrief. This is a huddle after a big meeting, project closure, budget request, etc. It’s really good practice to discuss “Things that went well” at the debrief. This is a more formal process but none the less, it’s still an opportunity to promote the behavior you wish replicated in the future.
This may be the simplest thing that you could do as a leader. It only requires that you pay attention to what your team is doing. Of course, work on the areas of improvement but never at the expense of the areas of excellence. Remember, a leader should be giving a considerable amount of their time to developing their team in both areas of strength and areas of weakness.
This simple concept doesn’t only apply to the people you are responsible for but can apply in any area of your life. Make this part of your lifestyle, and you will be better off. I promise.
As always, please leave me a comment below if you have any additional thoughts. Connect with me on social media @ShaunHallTalk. I hope you enjoyed the read!