To affirm is to encourage or to inspire.  It is also a firm or public statement that something is true or that you support something strongly according to the Oxford English dictionary. Should staff be affirmed often by their team leaders? How does this affect productivity?

    First and foremost, whatever affirmations or public expressions are made about oneself or another should be true. Affirmation is not the same as flattery. The former should be encouraged and the latter, discouraged in the workplace setting.

    Every team member is encouraged when his team leader openly acknowledges and confirms whatever good they already thought of themselves or highlights something positive they may have noticed. A leader can only sustainably give what he already has. Both team leader and player should first ask themselves what they believe, what work they intend to put in in line with their affirmations or confessions, are these true, practical and realistic, do these encourage you to keep keeping on, do they help point you back to your true north, where do u get your self-worth, etc?

    Dr Paul White, co-author of The New York Times bestseller, “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace”, says words of affirmation are the primary way employees like to be shown appreciation in the workplace. It makes good sense to say that the encouragement given to staff should be as truthful as possible and should address something in particular like a character trait, performance or even the approach to problem-solving. For example, if Mr X says to an employee every single day, “you do well with your work”, that alone confirms to the person that his work is recognized and acknowledged. It boosts the person’s confidence. Taking it a step further by probably saying, “I always knew you were good at this but I really would like to learn from you how you sorted out this particular issue in less than a day”, drives home the point that specifics are observed and creates an environment of initiative-taking and paying attention to detail.

    How?

    A few ways to encourage team members in a working environment include: verbal expressions, written acknowledgement, one-on-one interactions with the person, giving rewards one can appreciate and listening to concerns with an open mind and attitude.

    Results

    Affirming staff may be a small price to pay for the kind of positive results we may reap later on as an organization.

    The real difference this can make to an organization may be found in its ability to celebrate, encourage, motivate and grow our employees, staff or team much more than we do our clients. A team member should be regarded as the first client. Affirming our team players hopefully translates into returns on investments in terms of value, quantity and quality.

    Freda Abah-Dakou