6 expressions of affirmation

She cautiously joins the leadership circle, feeling a bit out of place.  The leadership team invited her to the meeting for, what I’ll call, an affirmation session. She knows why she’s there but isn’t sure of the specifics.

Affirmation sessions are designed to encourage and support key organizational players.

Affirmation sessions have 6 components

Once everyone is in place, a conversation clarifying organizational mission and vision begins the process. Last Thursday, I used four questions inspired by Steve Farber’s book, “The Radical Leap” to focus on organizational vision. Everyone answered the following questions.

  1. Why do you love our organization?
  2. What core ideas does our organization hold that inspire you?
  3. Why do you love those ideas?
  4. How can you show others that love in the way you work and interact with others?

After mission and vision are clarified each leader affirms our guest by highlighting her admirable qualities, outstanding service, consistency of character, and growing potential.

Affirmations are followed by asking how things are going in her area of responsibility.

Fourth, we ask how we can help.

Fifth, we discuss her future direction within the organization or beyond.

Finally, we hand her a thank-you note with handwritten comments from each member of the leadership team.

Affirmation meetings are helping everyone because we spend time focusing on the good rather than on what needs improvement.

The only time improvement enters the conversation is when the leadership team asks, “How can we help?” At that time, any discussion of improvement focuses on the organization and the leadership team, not on our guest.

It’ll take about an hour to affirm a key organizational player.  It’s one of the best hours of my day.


How is your leadership team affirming key organizational players? Has this happened to you?


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Leadership Freak

Dan Rockwell