How Words of Affirmation Can Work Wonders in the Workplace
You’ve probably heard the term “words of affirmation” before. It’s one of the five love languages, but it’s also essentially anything you say or write that supports or lifts another person (or yourself) up in a positive way. And whether they’re one of your love languages or not, using them can significantly boost employee morale, team building, and overall corporate culture. Here are a few ways you can integrate words of affirmation into your work life.
Use them on yourself
Words are extremely powerful tools. They can destroy or create, uplift or belittle, empathize or disconnect. And they can change the way your mind — both consciously and subconsciously —
thinks. So, who better to use these tools on (in all the best ways) than yourself?
The key with affirmations is to find the ones that are best suited for you and repeat them as often as you can. To start, think about what you want to achieve. It can be big or small. Something in the present moment, or something you’re working towards. An aspect of who you are and how you operate, or the environment you’re in. Find one or two, test them out, and see how they feel. If they feel like too much of a stretch, pull back a bit. For example, if you are trying to reduce stress, and “I choose to be free of stress” feels impossible, try “I know it’s not good for me to be stressed” or “I will not stress about things I cannot control.” Once you find what feels right, say it every morning to yourself for a couple of minutes, and see how it shifts your reality.
People love compliments. And being heard and seen and recognized. It’s one of the fastest ways to boost team morale and build stronger relationships with your coworkers. The trick with workplace affirmations is to make sure they’re, well, workplace appropriate. To do this, start with areas that feel safe: big wins, their skills, how they handled a particular challenge or project, something they did that made you feel supported, etc.
Once you land on a few that feel right, find opportunities to organically weave them into your correspondence. Start off an email by mentioning it. Bring it up at the end of a conversation (or if it naturally fits in with whatever you’re talking about). If it’s a big stretch to the tone and voice you usually operate from, go slow. Authenticity is key here. You want people to feel good (and maybe a little surprised), but not confused or skeptical.
Use them in your daily correspondence
Have you ever read an email and just immediately known the person who sent it was having a rough day? How about the reverse of that? As you consciously shift the language you use with yourself and your team, pay attention to how you correspond with partners, clients, and really everyone else. See if you can find new ways to highlight your appreciation for the time and effort someone put into something. To express your thanks for a quick turnaround, or timely response. To add a bit of warmth and approachability to how you start or sign off conversations and emails. A little goes a long way here, and it may shock you how these subtle changes are received and reciprocated.
Use them everywhere
Once you get in the habit of leading from a place of positivity and support, it’s only natural that it will start to shift how you write and speak throughout the day. It will also shift how people write and speak to you, which will begin to create a new reality where you feel more supported, more connected, and more capable of accomplishing your daily to-dos, and reaching your desired goals.
Ian Fraser is the co-founder and chief executive officer of The Go Game / Weve, the leader in team-building and culture-driving games. Ian and chief technology officer, Finn Kelly, co-founded The Go Game in 2000 to bring fun to work through interactive games, events, and experiences that make employees feel connected and engaged. In 2020, The Go Game launched Weve which creates dynamic digital environments that enable real engagement that goes beyond the market standard video conferencing tool.
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