A kind word changes everything

Everyone goes through emotional ups and downs during the course of a normal work week.  What’s your personal policy as a manager when it comes to addressing the feelings of your people at work?

  • Are you an Avoider, unsure about how to deal with feelings so you retreat from the situation? 
  • Are you an Ice Man, and believe that feelings don’t really have a place in the work environment?
  • Are you an Over Indulger and tend to get a little too wrapped up in emotional situations?

Going too far in any of these three directions can lead to problems at work.  The best approach is to find a balance.  Make sure that people are clear on performance expectations, but at the same time let them know that you are there to help and support them when necessary.

Looking for a way to do this regardless of your personality type?  Here’s some good advice from Ken Blanchard, best-selling author of more than 50 books on management and leadership.  When asked what he hopes people remember most from his body of work, Blanchard identifies one concept that goes back to his best-selling book, The One Minute Manager, written together with Spencer Johnson. 

“Catch people doing things right.”

Take the time to notice when someone who reports to you is doing something right.  This one simple gesture says volumes.  Imagine it for yourself.  How would your day be impacted if your boss stopped by and shared a kind word about something you’re working on? How would that make you feel, impact your morale, and subsequent performance? 

Now, imagine what a kind word from you would do for your direct reports.  No matter what your personality type is, a kind word is always appropriate and appreciated.  Try it today.  You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.

12 thoughts on “A kind word changes everything

  1. So many awesome things are going on right under our noses, yet often we are so distracted with our own selves we don’t see them.

    Something so easy produces HUGE results.

    Thanks for the reminder!!


  2. David,
    I work in an environmemt where I am seeking to see that staff is doing things right. When we do it right, our customers build it right! I will seek right interworking. Thanks for bringing the little things to our attention.

  3. Research on famed basketball coach John Wooden, completed years ago obviously, revealed that the ultra-successful coach praised the specific actions of his players about 4 times more often than he criticized them. David, it supports your point about ‘catching people doing something right’ perfectly. Thank you for your insightful, useful thoughts.

    • Hi Paul–thanks for the insight into John Wooden’s praise/criticism ratio. The 4-to-1 ratio you mentioned was also corroborated by John Gottman’s research at Harvard. He found that successful relationships needed to have at least a four-to-one ratio to be healthy and successful.

  4. Pingback: The Ups and Downs of Living With An Alcoholic Spouse | Alcoholic Spouse Advanced Help

  5. Wonderful post!! Balance is important in anything you do. Stop…and tell someone how much you appreciate the efforts they put in and the job they are doing. It will go a long way to building the relationships we know are so important to building towards future success of all.

    • Hi Hugh–thanks for sharing your thoughts. Building relationships, as you point out, is a fundamental way to improve performance and overall success in an organization.

  6. Pingback: Friday Leadership Favs 11.18.11 « Get Your Leadership BIG On!

  7. Pingback: Leadership Friday Favs 11.18.11 | LeadBIG

Leave a Reply to yotripCancel reply