Thursday, August 21, 2008

Acknowledging the Positive

After I finished high school and prior to attending university, I entered the work force and took on a part time management certificate at technical college. I had always been interested in human behaviour and the internal world of thinking and feeling, so I had my first exposure to managerial psychology at tech which I absolutely loved. We studied transactional analysis, Maslow's heirarchy of needs, and read books such as Thomas A Harris's I'm OK – You're OK, as well as Eric Berne's Games People Play. One of the more practical lessons we were taught (and don't forget I was an impressionable 18 year old who soaked this all up and tried to apply it in my work as a manager) was the importance of positive strokes. Just so you know – strokes is another name for recognition or acknowledgement that you give to another person. It is all too easy to dwell on the negative and in fact I have only ever written one letter of complaint to a company where the service (or lack thereof) was so appalling as to be extremely rude. What I prefer to do is the opposite. Every now and then I come across exemplary service and so I write letters to businesses drawing management's attention to the person who was patient, friendly, and who went beyond the call of duty to provide excellent customer relations. I also like to send out thank you cards and/or gifts to those friends and colleagues who have given up their time to help me with a project or who offered me good advice or an ear when I needed it. I have been so busy the last few months that some of these less-urgent letters have accumulated on my TO DO LIST. Well, I am happy to report that I dedicated an entire afternoon to writing them today and they are now in the post. Positive recognition creates a win/win situation – everyone feels good. It is SO important to be grateful for good fortune, good health, good experiences and the good people out there who help us on our way.

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