The Secret to Vitality
Words create worlds.
Positive words create vibrant environments.
Negative words create defeated environments.
Energy is low, when problems, complaints, and falling short is the persistent topic of conversation.
Leaders ignite vitality or drain energy with words.
The rule of vitality: See the good, say the good.
10 reasons leaders withhold affirmations:
- Others haven’t affirmed you. Why should you affirm them?
- They might get a big head if you give too many compliments. Your mission is to help others be humble.
- Jealousy. They have more than you.
- Competitiveness. They need to lose in order for you to win.
- Insecurity. You need others to complement you.
- They’re doing what they’re paid to do.
- You don’t need affirmations, why should they? They should toughen up.
- Entitlement. You’re better than others. You don’t say thank you.
- Negativity. You wouldn’t see a positive if it came up and bit you in the face.
- Self-preoccupation. You’re too busy thinking about yourself.
Not fairy dust, but still powerful:
Words aren’t fairy dust. You can talk about a 6-pack all you want. But, until you get off the couch and work out, you’re stuck with a 1-pack. But, words are still powerful.
A few positive words transform defeat to hope. A few negative words turn victory into defeat. For example, leaders who keep saying, “You could have done more,” after you keep giving your best, take the wind out of your sails.
- You can’t energize environments with negative words.
- You can’t have joyful teams and constantly complain.
- You can’t reach maximum potential while talking about weakness.
Use the 80/20 rule to govern positives to negatives. Spend 80% of your words on solutions, fueling fires, affirming progress, and honoring strengths. Spend 20% of your words exploring failure and weakness.
Environments are built with words.
How can leaders create vibrant environments with words?
Brilliant, yet again!
Thanks Lori! Have a great week.
I think your #6 and #7 are the ones that come up. There are so many “leaders” who think their people should be glad that they get any attention, or even get paid at all! I was once asked by my then colleagues to speak to our manager, because he was like this. His reply was “I don’t have the time, energy or inclination to worry about your feelings. I shouldn’t have to concern myself with this. You are here to work, not to feel. You leave your feelings at the door when you work for me.”
I can predict how the people on your colleague’s team felt. Lousy!
Old school managers feel the way you describe. New world managers understand that they manage feelings, as well as projects.
When we stop treating people like humans, we start treating them like tools.
Thanks for adding value.
Great post! Sincere words of positive recognition, spoken on a regular basis, helps to build extraordinary teams. It’s also powerful to thank leadership when they go above and beyond. Everyone appreciates being appreciated.
Thanks Mim. “Everyone appreciates being appreciated.” Great point.
Thank you for this post. It’s a great reminder to me as I lead a small tile contracting business and my own family. I’ve got an example to share.
Yesterday I was playing some volleyball with family and friends. There was a guy on our team who was doing the “motivate by criticism” thing. He just made us who were on his team feel bad and eventually not want to take any risks for fear of being called out for making a mistake.
I pointed out to my daughters who were there that we started out winning a couple games and ended up losing as we played game after game. Here is the reason: no one on our team wanted to take a risk for fear of being called out publicly for a failed attempt.
Dan, isn’t this what happens in business with a negative atmosphere of criticism?… It creates an atmosphere of fear; where no one desires to take risks, and the finger pointing is everywhere!
In this volleyball man’s case, it’s his leadership style, he’s very competitive. It’s like he intends to motivate and teach through the sarcasm and criticism, but we just aren’t ever going to be good enough to be on his team. Off the field/court he’s a good friend. It’s weird. But like Dan was saying, he’s insecure, he thinks he looks better by making us look worse.
We left early, and that’s what I’d encourage employees in an environment like this to do. Your leader more than likely will never change, I’ve known this guy for years and I’ve tried to persuade him otherwise, to no avail, I’ve seen his children growing up under this leadership style, it’s not good.
Like Dale Carnegie said; praise in public, criticize in private.
Leaders, take Dan’s advice and create an atmosphere of trust, honor, and high energy by keeping it positive!
Quoting: “Spend 80% of your words on solutions, fueling fires, affirming progress, and honoring strengths. Spend 20% of your words exploring failure and weakness.” It will likely be less than 80% at the start of a new effort. BUT the key – the and always is ‘exploring’ (& refining) the failures / weaknesses!!! I might almost put them in the 80% column as it is so important to self-assess to improve!!!
Great article. I especially like the 80/20 rule. I will give it a shot and start implementing it at my workplace. When you mention the fact that negative words defeat an environment, I can’t help but to view in retrospect how accurate that statement is, given my work experience.