I recently saw this post to a LinkedIn group: “I will join this group only if you correct the title. ‘Secretary’s’ is the possessive form of the word, and any good legal assistant would know that. How embarrassing. Shame.” Ouch!
Here’s a clear example of someone speaking her mind, not speaking her truth, someone who is discouraging, rather than encouraging another to take action.
I bet we can all think of someone like that, and if you’ve been at the receiving end of someone’s sniping, it’s not pleasant.
Discouragers seem to need to point out others’ flaws, conveniently unaware of their own shortcomings.
While you may have to put up with a discourager, you don’t have to follow suit; you have opportunities in your workday to be an encourager.
Start with an awareness of the way you phrase things. Instead of, “You forgot to give me the receipts for your expenses” try, “I still need the receipts for your expenses, please.”
What if, while reading the company newsletter, you notice a grammatical error? Rather than focus on that, send the editor an email sharing something you found useful or interesting. Perhaps a few days later you could send another, saying, “As I was re-reading the newsletter, I noticed a grammatical error on page 2. It caught my eye because it’s one I’ve always found challenging (if that’s true). If you ever need another set of eyes in a crunch, happy to help.” Not only will you be seen as more pro-active and helpful, but by being an encourager first, you don’t come across as a know-it-all.
In an era when many workers feel unappreciated, genuine praise can go a long way: “Thank you for creating that PowerPoint for our meeting tomorrow on such short notice.”
Along those lines, author Shawn Achor advocates sending an appreciative email each day to someone in your social support network, praising or thanking them. Taking just a couple of minutes each day reaps positive rewards for you and the recipient.
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