Expressing affirmation and appreciation is REALLY important in leading teams.
Especially today (updated in 2023.)
It’s not easy to do this at first for many leaders. If that’s you, you’re not alone.
It wasn’t supernatural for me to do this at first. And it’s become part of my DNA to regularly affirm the people in my life: my clients, friends, and my team etc.
I’ve also seen this become a regular habit for many clients who at first, felt they were NO GOOD AT IT!
But not every leader sees affirmations as a positive thing.
I remember this tall, tough, ball-buster-of-a-guy who called me up and said he wanted a coach to help him “stop leaving money on the table.” Jack and I started working together.
He knew he needed to change a few foundational habits to get his big-money bonus back in his pocket. After all, he had earned it once but lost it due to consistency.
One early session Jack told me, “Coach Jen, you don’t have to sugarcoat things for me. I want you to point out my flaws so I can conquer them and move on! You don’t need to ‘pump me up’ like other people. I am good. I just want to fix the things that are wrong. Got it?!”
Hmm.. I’d heard that sentiment before…but never with such conviction.
And what followed was a defining moment for me.
It felt like a tough choice at the time.
I could acquiesce and give in, (aka: not use affirmations with Jack) his “competitive nature” was really evident. I was tempted to do what he wanted, even though I knew it wasn’t the best thing for his growth.
At this point, I’m thanking God I was raised in a large Polish family with six equally ball-busting brothers. It wasn’t unusual for me to have to go head-to-head with alpha males.
I made my decision. I wasn’t going to let Jack miss out on the benefit of seeing and claiming his wins.
If I am honest, I was thinking, “Well, this guy is probably gonna fire me. What he wants isn’t what he needs. But I’m going to go with my gut.”
Jack needed sustainable new habits in order to achieve the growth he desired. Lack of consistency got to him once.
I challenged him to make celebrating his own wins a regular practice. He didn’t love it. At first.
Months later, after Jack was successful in achieving his goal of keeping his bonus, 🎉sent him some celebratory words in a homemade notecard. I glued a picture of “money on a table” and said, “You reached your impossible/possible goal and are no longer leaving money on the table!!”
We don’t realize how a small gesture can have a profound impact on a person. But apparently, this one did. Recently, Jack shared some thoughts about that notecard in his Facebook post. He talked about how important the note was to him.
He even encouraged others to do what he learned was so critical to his success back then.
Affirm someone you appreciate.
My lesson: we should never assume that someone wouldn’t want it or need to hear it.
Humans grow from affirmation. Everyone needs affirmation. Jack challenged readers of his post to send notes of affirmation to five people who have made a significant difference in their life or brought them value.
When I read that, I got a little emotional. What a ripple effect!
The client who didn’t want any “sugar coating” was now actively challenging others to encourage their fellow humans.
My work is done here. ✔️🌎
Just kidding! I’m going to keep spreading this concept. All the time.
We all can do a better job of sharing with others how important and valuable they are to us, even if it seems like it wouldn’t matter to them. Let’s not assume! (You know the old adage?… ass/u/me.)
I’ll piggyback on Jack’s challenge and invite you, reader, to send one specific note/text to someone right now to celebrate the impact they made on you. Affirm what they did, and let them know how important they are to you and why.
If you’re up for Jack’s challenge, share with 5 people!
Your words of authentic affirmation may end up impacting someone’s life forever.
And that’s pretty sweet! 🍭
Do you struggle with acknowledging and affirming your own wins?
If you do, I dare you to imagine how that’s affecting your team. It’s hard to treat other’s differently than you’re treating yourself.
Jack participated in our high-touch LeadWell coaching program, I invite you to check it out.
Try a solution session with me. Book your time here!
Or start with watching my free masterclass, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There!