• 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
Walking out of a restroom with wet pants is not good: not a good look; not a good feeling; and maybe not the best way to start a GuideMark article. But it probably got your attention.

The Funds For Learning men’s room countertop tends to collect a small amount of water from time to time from people washing their hands in sinks that are just slightly too small. The granite counters and under-the-counter sinks are big on style, but not as big on functionality, so I often end up taking a paper towel or two to dry off the excess water from the counter. Too many times I’ve leaned up against the counter and collected a water stripe across my pants.

Recently when I was drying the countertop a co-worker, who was at the other sink, said, “I appreciate you doing that – I hate leaning up against the counter only to find out too late that there was water on it.” I agreed and didn’t think much about it again until a week or two later when, once again, I was drying up water on the counter, and the thought of my co-worker thanking me for doing that task popped into my head; the fact that he was thankful that I had done so previously spurred me on to take up the task again. Each time since then I have wiped off the counter I have had the thought that someone else (or even several someones) also appreciated it. That praise made me want to continue doing that action.
Praise is the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something. When people receive praise (and specifically praise for specific actions) they feel valuable, they feel appreciated, and people, especially in a work environment, want to feel like they are doing good things. Doing something that brings you praise comes with a good feeling, a sense of accomplishment and/or a sense of worth. Who doesn’t want that? 
The catch here is that until now we’ve focused on doing things that bring praise, however the crux of this GuideMark is that it’s not called Do Good Things, it’s called Reinforce the Good. This Guidemark depends on others noticing the good deed and acknowledging the good deed, ideally with specificity. 

That’s the idea behind this GuideMark - the act of encouraging people to do good things, or the right things, because it’s somehow helpful to us, or to others, and we’d like them to be encouraged to do this thing again. Recognizing and supporting the positive values demonstrated in other peoples’ actions.

Letting someone know they’re doing something good (or doing something well) also increases the chances that they will want to repeat those actions again and again.

This is something that should be easy: to notice someone doing something well (or good) and telling them you appreciate it or that they’ve done a good job doing it; but not everyone has a knack for it or they may not feel comfortable speaking up. But Reinforce the Good is win/win/win: not only are you making someone feel good by directly giving them praise, you’re also encouraging them to do more good stuff, and when someone genuinely appreciates you giving them an “atta boy (or girl as the case may be),” it can make you feel good too!
I encourage you to seek out as many opportunities to reinforce the good with your group over the next week and see what positive effects you find that actively utilizing this GuideMark brings to your group.
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.
GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

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