This is one of the most important and effective aspects of being a great leader, but is often one that is utilized the least. When used properly, genuine affirmations will strengthen your relationships to new levels!
This lesson is rooted in the principle: “We see people as we see ourselves.” That means that if you don’t see yourself as a strong, confident, effective, passionate individual…you’ll have a very hard time seeing any of those qualities in other people. My mentor, John Maxwell, puts it like this:
Whenever I see my staff, I put an imaginary “10” on the forehead of each individual. This helps me treat each person like a 10, a high performer who makes a difference to me and the organization. Inevitably, they respond as if they ARE a 10! (John Maxwell Leadership Bible)
There are a few key elements to having this be truly effective. Let’s run through those.
- Make them sincere. This is probably one of the most important. If the other person doesn’t sense that you’re being genuine, you’re dead in the water. Not only will you not improve the relationship, but you’re likely to destroy it. Always be genuine and authentic about what you say.
- Make them specific. Get very pointed and detailed about what you say. This will go a long way to adding credibility to your affirmation or compliment and really let the other person know that you are truly paying attention to them and what they’re doing.
- Make them public. Declare these honoring words in front of others. It’s one thing to compliment someone in private, but when you do this in front of their peers and/or other members of leadership it magnifies it tenfold at least!
- Make them personal. Be personal about what you say. The easiest way to make sure you’re personal is to truly speak from the heart.
Put simply: Leaders bless people. Be a blessing in someone’s life today!
(John Maxwell Leadership Bible; p.824)