As a leader, are you more focused on your business’s goals or the individuals you are leading?
Richard S. Wellins, co-author of “Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others,” says that the skills of calling out the best in others involve only 10% natural inclination. The remaining 90% is deliberate.
Most of us would like to think we’re naturally encouraging of the potential of others. But on average, the majority of us are so focused on ourselves and our overall goals that we often miss moments to empower those around us.
We may often underestimate how our expressed belief in others impacts them. We can also overlook the many great attributes, skills and strengths of those on our team. If we do recognize them, we rarely vocalize them.
It is no surprise that when we are complimented, we can feel energized and encouraged to excel. In an interview for HuffPost Australia, Professor Nick Haslam, from the School of Psychological Sciences of the University of Melbourne, remarked, “Compliments can lift moods, improve engagement with tasks, enhance learning and increase persistence.”
Many of us often think about complimenting others but rarely actually tell the people in our lives — including those working and living closely with us. Words of affirmation do more than just encourage us to work harder. One Gallup study, which involved 4 million workers in over 30 industries, found that employees who received verbal affirmation at least once a week increased their productivity, received higher satisfaction rates from customers and were more likely to remain with an organization.
Everyone could use a little more affirmation, so why not begin seeking out the moments to make this a regular practice?
Here are six moments to call out the best in people:
- Moments to honor. When an employee achieves a win or their stellar performance catches you by surprise, let them know. It will only go further to boost the individual if these encouragements are spoken rather than trapped in your head.
- Moments to teach. There are always moments to correct and teach. But do we also consider how we can lift individuals up? In moments of correction, look for affirmations that will speak life into employees.
- Moments to empathize. Whether an individual is facing a significant loss or struggling to complete a project for unavoidable reasons, take a moment to recognize what they are going through. Imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes, and let that influence the way you speak with them.
- Moments to trust. Let your employees know that you believe in them by trusting them. Whether it’s a project, pitch or assignment you’ve entrusted them to do and they see-through, verbally recognize their trustworthiness and talent.
- Moments to set them loose. Don’t always just tell individuals what you see in them. Show them what you believe they are capable of accomplishing. Maybe it’s a new dream they’ve pitched to you. If you believe they can do it, set them loose to achieve it.
- Moments to follow their lead. Sometimes people naturally set a new pace or act in a way that reflects the very core values of an organization. Applaud and recognize them in these moments.
Rather than keeping affirmations to yourself, seek out moments to recognize the best in those around you. If you don’t ever think about your team’s strengths, you are missing an opportunity to enhance their performance and your work culture as a whole.
By making a solid effort to call out the best in our teams, we will bring out the best in our organizations.