I was in a staff meeting today that got me thinking about the power of words. We have been taking a staff engagement survey for the last few years as a way to measure the development of our culture. In our meeting today we went over some of the results and our senior pastor got up and said some pretty amazing things about our HR director and his efforts to create an amazing work environment. After his glowing words, he went on to say how proud he was of the staff for our individual commitment to being led and each of us trying to making it the kind of place we want to work.
While he was talking, I kept thinking how great it was for the staff to hear him say these things, and how potentially uncomfortable it made him feel. It seems way easier to be flippant or make a joke than to say something heartfelt and positive. For me, it feels weird to say “I’m proud of you.”, but I never grow tired of hearing it for myself.
When was the last time you told a volunteer that you were proud of them? That you were amazed at the job they had done? When did you last tell someone that they were an essential part of the team?
For me, I assume that people know this stuff, which is stupid. If I need to hear it, why wouldn’t everyone else, including the people I work with?
After our staff meeting and realizing that I need to be better about saying positive words to people, I had a meeting with someone (you know who you are!) and I told them “I will keep repeating myself, and saying these true statements about you, so that over time you believe them and that you will know that I believe them too.”
In the moment it feels weird to say positive things. “I am proud of you” and “Way to go” need to be said and they need to be heard. So say them, so they are heard.