This past March I spent two weeks at a leadership course (www.leadershipmatters.ws). The course was definately worth every minute I spent there, for various reasons. But the thing that stood out to me most was the atmosphere in which everything at that course was done. It was an atmosphere of affirmation. An atmosphere of encouraging people, rather than criticising them; of telling people what they did well, rather than what they did wrong. Of cheering eachother on, rather than beating eachother down.
The culture I live and grew up in isn’t very good at this. I am not very good at this. Maybe that is why it meant so much to me. Maybe that is why it meant so much to everyone at that course.
I believe we all long for affirmation to some degree. We want to hear that we did well. That we are appreciated. That we mean something to someone.
“Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Don’t these words sound great?
And yet we often forget to give to others, what we so desperately want to recieve from them. And that can be dangerous…
Most people would prefer to go on holiday to a place where the sun is shining, compared to a place where the weather is miserable. Is it difficult to understand then, that we are naturally drawn to people who will give us a warm smile and a simple thank you, rather than to someone who complains and criticizes what we do, when we do it and the way we do it.
As a Father it is my responsibility to affirm my son. As a husband, I am called to encourage my wife. As a leader I should be the first person to thank the people around me and build them up with my words.
If I don’t…who will?
If I don’t… someone else probably will.
And then my team might follow someone else. My son might look up to a stranger. And my wife might turn her head to another.
Can I blame them?
It’s up to me. Affirmation encourages dedication!