The other day I was working with a colleague from IT. We were debriefing a meeting and planning for the next one. Normal day-to-day stuff. In the process of our discussion, he said “you’re a project manager so you get what I mean.”
Here’s the thing – I’m not sure anyone ever said that to me before. I have a lot of work identities: training manager, change consultant, organization development specialist, etc., but “project manager” has not been one of them. Since I came to MnSCU, I’ve successfully coordinated several large projects and have been working hard on my project management skills. It was very affirming for my IT colleague to say, in effect, “you have the skillset and experience, and we’re in the same club.”
Then last night at choir practice, I noticed that the person next to me had a very large vocal range as we sang our practice scales. I commented on it, and she did a double-take before saying thank you. I’m pretty sure I’d never complimented her on that before.
All of this got me to thinking that one of the best things we can do for team members, as leaders and colleagues, is to affirm their strengths. A very simple statement like:”I appreciate that contribution,” or “that specific skill really helps our team’s productivity” can go a long way toward building a positive environment. Leaders need to pay attention and affirm people when they go above and beyond. But it can also be encouraging to periodically tell people you appreciate what they do well day-to-day.
Dee Anne Bonebright