How to combat discouragement in the workplace

Breadcrumbs and Doggie Bags:  Giving encouragement

Shawn:  “Smiling Daffodil, I want to run away.  I am not in a good place right now.”

Smiling Daffodil:  “What’s wrong Shawn?”

Shawn:  “I don’t have any value Smiling Daffodil.”

Smiling Daffodil:  “Don’t be silly!  Of course you do.  Take a look at your office. Look at all the work you have done— it’s on the shelves, it’s on the walls… you have accomplished a lot Shawn.”

Shawn:  “The thing is— I feel like I could be easily replaced.  I have no unique or special value.”

Smiling Daffodil:  “Find and focus on your niche.”

Smiling Daffodil:  “I have found that it’s best to expect people to be careless, self-centered and to express no gratitude or appreciation.  I think this is true anywhere you go.  Happiness and confidence in what we do must come from within.  It must burn from within Shawn.”

Shawn:  “Yes, I agree.”

Smiling Daffodil:  “You have skills Shawn.  I’ve known you for years.  You also care about the work you produce.”

Shawn and I talked further on the matter.  All of this took place by text messaging.  Then I decided to take it one step further and go talk to Shawn in person.

I shared some recent Carnegie techniques that have been successful that he can apply and experience similar success.

At the end of the day Shawn thanked me for my help in putting things into perspective.

The next day I was brainstorming on how to market a new product.  What I really need is a video promo.  It just so happens this is the type of assignment that Shawn enjoys.

Smiling Daffodil:  “Shawn, I have a little task I’m calling ‘World Domination’.  Will you help me with it?  You see, I want to outsell everyone on this product and to do that I need a video.  Remember you did the video promo for the QRS product?  We need another one of those!  Will you help?  It could be fun!”

Shawn:  “Yes.  Not a problem at all.  We can take this approach and then tweak it here and there.  We will set the standard.”
The Dale Carnegie principles used in this story are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 28.  Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
Principle 23.  Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
Principle 29.  Use encouragement.  Make the fault seem easy to correct.

The lesson in this story:  When someone who is discouraged approaches you, be a good listener.  Share examples from your own experiences of how you have handled similar matters.  Gently guide them to a more positive outlook.  Be strong and encouraging for them.  Taking this approach will help them to help themselves.  As I told Shawn, happiness must come from within.  It must burn from within ourselves.  Shawn has what it takes to turn his mindset around.  Just as you or I do.  A day can be good or bad— it all comes down to what we make it.

In addition, depending on your position at work (management/employee) assign  employees/coworkers tasks in particular areas that they excel at and enjoy.  Giving them responsibility makes them feel valued, keeps them focused and gives them the opportunity to be in the limelight.  Remember, we all need to feel like we are contributing to a company’s success.

365+ Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles By The Smiling Daffodil

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