REINFORCE THE GOOD
  • Recognizing and supporting the positive values demonstrated in other people’s actions
     
  • Fostering an environment that encourages GuideMarks and other healthy behaviors
     
  • Acknowledging, with specificity, the good work of others
COMMENTARY:
Wow! That's a hard one.  
 
This week's GuideMark is "Reinforce the Good".  This reminds us that it is important to encourage others and cultivate a healthy, positive environment.  
 
That all sounds great, but like all things that are worthwhile, this takes hard work, among other things. If you want your encouragement to really impact someone, you need to move beyond superficial generalities and get specific.
 
It's easy to say "You did a great job!". However, saying something like, "I think the way that you solved the problem with interfacing the website framework with the backend database was inventive and will save your co-workers at least 10 hours a week!", not only lets you let the listener know that they were successful, but also encourages them because they know that what they accomplished both matters and made a real, positive impact. The encouraging effects of the first statement, if there are any, do not last nearly as long as the second. The specificity of the second statement gives the listener something that they can use to measure future work.
 
This all sounds great and I don't expect that there are many people that wouldn't be encouraged by others specifically expressing to them things they are doing well. But why is this sometimes so hard?  
 
For me, "Reinforce the Good" requires that you pay attention to what others around you are doing. It’s hard to be specific if you’re not paying attention. It's not that I am oblivious to those around me, it is that I have things to do. I know that it sounds like an excuse, but when we are busy it is easier to stay focused on what you are working on and not be aware of what those around you may be doing well. The challenge then, is to be more intentional about those around us and the hard work they are doing as well. Take some time and look to see what your co-workers are doing. Then, when you see them succeeding, let them know!
 
Key Words and Phrases
Encourage a response; Support; Reward an action; Strengthen or increase; Instruct; Boost or shore up; Affirm and validate; Foster and sustain; Bolster or amplify; Emphasize or stress.

Opposite Terms
Ignore; Undermine; Weaken; Tear down.
 
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