I can live two months on one good compliment. - Mark Twain
Every good leader knows that people have emotional needs that when met cause them to feel better about themselves and to be more productive.
If you are looking for ways to increase your success with people, master the art of affirmation.
Dale Carnegie knew the secret of affirmation. He said, “every successful lover, every first-rate manager, and every good parent employs this technique every day.”
Mr. Charles Schwab was one of the first men ever to earn a million dollars a year. Why was he paid more than $3000 a day? Was it because he knew more about the manufacture of steel than other people? No. Schwab said that he had many men working for him whose technical knowledge surpassed his. Schwab was paid such a handsome amount largely because of his ability to deal with people. Here is the secret in his own words:
I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambition of man as criticisms from his superiors. I believe in giving a man incentive to work. So I am eager to praise and slow to find fault. If I like something, I am quick to give it praise.
If we train ourselves to search for the positive things about other people, we will be surprised at how many good things we will observe in them and be able to comment upon. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Every person I meet is superior in some way.”
The art of affirmation is enhanced if we learn to express praise when it is not expected. There are so many occasions for us to do so if we will just take time to think and observe. Don't confuse godly affirmation with flattery. They are not the same. When we develop this good habit we will see a wonderful effect on the lives of people around us.
Most of us have been fortunate enough to have someone early in our lives—a teacher, a grandparent, a friend—who took a special interest in us, passing over the foolish weak things and drawing into the light those strong aspects that no one else had looked quite far enough to find. If you affirm others around you in that way, you will put them forever in your debt, and you will linger in their minds long after you are gone. Though one may give it without the expectation of receiving it, it falls under the category of sowing and reaping.
So remember, all people everywhere need: Affection, Approval, Acceptance, Absolution, and Affirmation. Since God has given it to us freely. Let’s go out and freely give it away!