Affirmational Thinking

Affirming the strengths and recognizing blind spots.

There is no perfect person or leader.  Each of us have strengths and challenges in the way we relate to each other and the way we approach every task.  The very best leaders are able to recognize their strengths and the strengths of others, while also knowing and appreciating the presence of what some consider weaknesses.  Afirmational Leadership appreciates the weakness of others as necessary for strengths to exist.  Some individuals are capable of taking on multiple tasks at a fast pace.  Such people are usually not highly precise.  Some of your Team are very precise but are challenged when multiple tasks need to be addressed.  Some of us are very sensitive to the needs of others.  While some are prone to rely heavily on logic.

The reality is we need all these people with their varied skills.  The challenge appears when someone tries to be all things to all situations.  We tend to demand this from our leaders and in doing so place them in an impossible position.  Some of the very best leaders have learned how to vary their skills to the demands of the situation.  These extraordinary leaders have disciplined themselves through rigorous training and experience.

The best answer lies in the understanding that good and even great leaders need not be right all the time.  They need only to find the right answer all the time.  By relying on the Team, leaders discover that they are not always the decision makers but managers of the decision making process.   This realization makes for stronger Teams and better leadership.


Motivate through Affirming the strengths of others.

Once a leader has discovered the ability to identify the strengths of team members, he or she should affirm those strengths as often as possible in both formal and informal communications.  By affirming individual strengths we empower those traits to act more freely to the benefit of the Organization and the Team.  It is best for everyone to know who is the Team’s perfectionist or who is the results oriented thinker.  As you affirm strengths you will realize a new appreciation of each others contributions.


Removing judgmental thinking.

It is the nature of people to be competitive.  Unfortunately this mindset promotes a judgmental and often toxic work environment when unchecked.  Leaders  who practice good leadership find creative ways to make the workplace safe from this form of hostility.  No one should have permission to criticize others for self-interest purposes.  If you are experiencing this kind of behavior you need to consider changing your Culture.


Make it safe to think out-loud.

There is no such thing as a bad idea.  There are just ideas that don’t agree with your thinking.  The biggest killer of creative environments is the hasty decision made before others can participate or have input.  Every solution has merit and every idea should have its stage.  Good leaders listen and when the time is right make the final judgement. If they follow that practice their ideas and solutions will improve and their Team will be better participants in solution implementation.