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home : opinion : columnist January 23, 2019

1/11/2019 1:08:00 PM
Encouraging The Positive

Marty Reep, Author
Speaker, Forward-Thinker

A friend reminded me recently, “Behavior that you acknowledge is behavior that is magnified.”  So, whether you run a company, are an employee, or are studying to become a teacher, encouraging and reinforcing positive actions and attitudes will yield many rewards. 

Leading By Example
One of the simplest ways to cultivate an ethos of positive where you live, work, or study is by your own positive actions and attitude.  When you’re positive in different ways, you’ll stand out from the majority of people.  Others may not say anything to you about it, but they’ll notice.  And if they like what they see, they’ll emulate what you do.  You’re example sets a tone, even when you don’t realize that it does.

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When I was starting out as a young teacher in North Carolina, one of my mentor teachers told me, “Praise kids in public; correct kids in private.”  I’ve learned over the years that those same guidelines apply to adults, too.  Therefore, acknowledge positive actions and behavior publicly.  Meaning, point out the good things that they do so that others are aware of what you are “rewarding”.  On the other hand, counsel them one-on-one about things that they need to change or how they can improve themselves. 

You’ve probably figured out by now that people will shrink back from you if they feel like you’re going to embarrass them publicly.  But they will be more apt to listen to what you have to say, if they trust that you’ll praise them in front of others.  Additionally, if they understand that your correction in private is meant to help them, then they are more likely to take what you say to them to heart. 

The adage, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar” is true.  I don’t know of many flies that look for vinegar to drink.  But, I have seen lots of flies buzzing around honey and other things that are sweet.  To some degree, we humans are like those flies.  We like the sweetness of praise, and we dislike the harshness of discipline.  That’s why when words of goodness or correction are used in the right way, positivity is encouraged, while negativity is discouraged. 

The personal and public environment you create reflect your own inner peace or turmoil.  When you understand your own perspectives and approaches to life, then you’ll be a much more powerful leader, mentor, and coach to the people who are looking up to and counting on you. 

Clarifying Expectations
If you know the rules of a game, then you have a better chance of winning (than if you don’t have a clue how the game is played).  The same is true for life, relationships, responsibilities, and business.  By clarifying your expectations as a leader, others will know what they need to do to win.  As the “winner” attitude grows in your colleagues and coworkers, darkness will change to light.  That’s why being clear about what you expect from yourself and from other people makes it easier for everybody to win. 

Evaluating Your Language
Check this week for what kind of words you use: with yourself, and with other people.  Do your words build up?  Do they encourage the positive?  Do they invite others to come alongside you and succeed?  Are they constructive?  The words you use say a lot about your core beliefs.  They reveal your true nature.  By passing that positive nature to others, everyone benefits. 

One of the quickest ways to see if you are developing positive things in other people is to see whether your personal and professional network is growing or shrinking.  If it’s growing, then you’re helping others become the people they were meant to be. 

Encourage the positive.

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