At times, leaders must be tough. Very tough. We must set high expectations, we must hold people accountable, we must ensure everyone is always striving for more. That works.
And there is also the need for “happy talk,” timed well.
One thing that I found as I have grown in the business, is how much people listen… not just to what we say… but to our entire mood. Of course, they text and instant message about it too…. just saying….
I have been paying a lot of attention to the weather being created by myself and others. Particularly the impact of what I call “happy talk,” and the results it can drive.
A few weekends ago, we had lots going on in our business… which required many conference calls over the weekend to ensure everyone was in the loop and on track. Each time I dialed into the status call, Nancy (let’s call her Nancy, since that is her real name…. great when that works), engaged everyone with such tremendous excitement and enthusiasm. Through her “happy talk,” each person understood that their contribution to this effort was vital. Everyone worked very hard and her mood was contagious. The project came off extremely well.
That Saturday night, I walked into a restaurant, and heard…. “I just wish this joint had someone who was eager to talk about leadership… now that would be great.” I laughed, knowing that someone in this “joint” knew me… and was eager to engage… let’s call him “Dave” (since that’s his real name). Not a close friend, but someone who always pays attention, and wants others to feel good so they can grow. He is one of my leadership heroes.
The thing is… “happy talk” is engaging. When leaders make people feel great… they want to become greater. They want to follow the folks that made them feel happy.
Is there room in your life for more “happy talk?” How can you create it?
***In memory of Claire Graham, who performed the role of Bloody Mary many years ago in our Salem Player’s community production of South Pacific. I will never forget your rendition of “Happy Talk.***