When I ask the question, “Do you validate?” I’m not referring to my garage parking stub, but rather do you take the time to make others feel worthy? Do you validate co-workers’, colleagues’ and clients’ feelings regularly?
Many of us do our best to come to work each day with a positive attitude in hopes it will make us more effective, productive and likable. And all of those choices will make for a better workplace environment. Yet, the simple act of taking the time to validate another person can immediately deliver similar results.
For example, following a recent program I delivered to admins, I had a Traditionalist (born prior to 1946) approach me and say, “I think that my generation should get a lot of credit for dealing with so much change in our lifetime and having to work with so many different generations throughout our career.”
What was she really saying? “Validate me!” So I did. “Yes, your generation had to be extremely flexible and open-minded given all the changes. You, personally, must be an incredible student considering how much you’ve had to learn over the years just with regards to technology.” My feedback was a huge smile and a sassy, “You’re right!”
Perhaps you work with someone who begrudgingly cleans up the lunchroom daily. You walk in and she turns to you and says, “People are so sloppy!” What is she really saying? She’s saying “Validate me!” Why not say, “Yes, there are some people who simply don’t pick up after themselves. You, however, do a tremendous job of making this lunch room sparkle, and I notice.”
Both examples show a two-step process to validate another:
1. Validate their perception. By starting with a big “yes” and restating what they’ve said in your own words, they immediately feel heard.
2. Validate the person. Start with the word you as it is one of the sweetest words heard when followed by a sincere compliment.
We all want someone to acknowledge our feelings, challenges and accomplishments. Learn how to validate others to truly create a positive connection in the workplace—and you’ll walk away feeling validated, too.