He Made Him Captain*
by Ron White
One of my best friends coached a group of 13-year-old boys in soccer a while back. He saw some leadership potential in one of the boys, but he also saw some disturbing qualities. My friend approached the boy and told him that he thought he could be captain of the team but he wanted to see changes in some of his behaviors. Almost overnight, the boy stopped his whining and complaining. He became responsible and an effective leader. Eventually, he became the captain of the soccer team and parents who have known this kid for years asked my friend what he did to transform him.
My friend didn’t do anything other than tell someone that he believed in him and thought he could do better. When was the last time you told someone that you believed in them? You can criticize until the cows come home. However, if you want to see lasting change, find the positives in a person and reinforce those. When you do, those qualities will grow and overshadow the less desirable qualities. For an overnight transformation, find positives and make them captain!
Secrets of Positive Feedback
Douglas Conant provides insight into positive feedback in his HBR blog post "Secrets of Positive Feedback." He lists three rules for building appreciation:
- Make a personal connection early on. Establish trust.
- Look for opportunities to celebrate. Can your organization for those who make a difference.
- Get out your pen. Take the time send handwritten notes.
*Reproduced with permission from the Ron White Newsletter. To subscribe to Ron White's Newsletter, go to http://www.memoryinamonth.com/. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved worldwide.