What type of Leader are you?
The ski instructor of the beginners group laughed at me only and wished me luck carrying down Mike’s skis.
There are three types of Leaders:
1) Leaders who attract followers
2) Leaders who do not attract followers and
3) All other leaders.
What type of leader are you?
I became aware of the impact of validation in my teens as a competitive ski racer. I used to be a pretty good ski racer at the time my high school classmates and I enjoyed our ski camp.
The class was grouped into beginners, intermediates, and good skiers. Mike, one of my classmates never skied before. He was so bad that he slowed down even the beginner’s group. For example, he fell and needed help to get back on his skis. I offered to take the time and ski with him for the week. I embraced this opportunity to apply my experiences with my different ski coaches.
After teaching Mike the basics for a day or so I talked him into skiing from the mountain’s peak instead of staying rooted at the beginner’s hill. The ski instructor of the beginners’ group laughed at me and wished me luck carrying down Mike’s skis.
Disregarding the mocking, early next morning we all took the first gondola to the mountain’s top where a spectacular view of the Swiss Alps welcomed us. Mike and I prepared for our run after the beginners group left. Finally, we slowly started our way down the slopes of the mountain, continuously managing one swing after another. About halfway down we passed the beginners’ group. All were impressed with Mike’s progress. He never fell during his first run down the mountain and enjoyed himself. Interestingly enough, we were even faster than the beginners’ group. What was the magic in Mike’s performance?
The simple explanation lies in HOW I led, prepared, and supported Mike for the challenges ahead. More specifically, I understood how to bring out his best performance at the right time. I used a technique called “validation.” It is simple, yet extremely powerful. While practicing new skills I validated Mike’s performance consistently with encouragement, compliments, and support. As a result, Mike, who never skied before, successfully challenged a mountain without falling a single time. He was very proud of his achievements and shared his joy with everyone.
Do you really understand how you influence your boss, your peers, your staff, your clients, your family members, or even yourself? The success lies in your hands. Explore your validation skills and apply them consistently.
Validate more and critique less: The power of validation will help you achieve your goals like a champion. Try it out.
For even greater learning read more in Apple, Cake, and Skiing Wisdom: Optimism in the New Relationship Economy, 2012.