Leadership: First Seeing The Good

After years of research and work with married couples, noted psychologist John Gottman discovered that it takes five positive comments to negate the effects of just one negative comment.

Over the past decade scientists have applied this finding to a number of contexts. It turns out this positive-to-negative ratio applies to more than just interpersonal relationships. It also determines workplace performance

People who work hard want to feel appreciated for their work.

Sometimes we as leaders, with our busy schedules and long to-do list, fail to provide positive feedback to the people we lead and to acknowledge the people that matter.

Many organizations are lacking leaders who communicate how individuals’ accomplishments affect the larger organization

On a personal scale, people don’t always communicate how much other people’s strengths have helped them.

So why do so many people go unappreciated?

Because we are too busy, and we forget, and even though it is intuitive to voice our appreciation we do not take the time to do it.

Lack of acknowledgement leaves team members feeling disconnected and disregarded.

Lack of seeing the good leaves people unappreciated and unsatisfied.

We must build appropriate personal relationships with employees and purposefully listen to what energizes people.

In doing so, we will be able to benefit from their strengths and their presence.

In a culture where so many leaders highlight challenges and weaknesses, we must recognize that acceptance, awareness and acknowledgement will affect our team’s performance.
So what happens when we do take the time to look for the good first?

It demonstrates that we care.

It shows that we see them.

It validates their sense of worth.

It confirms their roles and purpose.

It allows them to take ownership for what they do.

True leaders are great at first seeing the good.

We must spot great work and then acknowledge it. When we recognize dedicated others, we must take the time to praise them.

By engaging the heart of your people, you will get the best of what they have to offer.

By embracing the mind of your people, you will get them to be responsible for performance.

By embracing the will of your people, you will get them to be passionate.

The necessary focus on employee appreciation requires a profoundly different leadership attitude, a change in the corporate mindset, and new formation of our organizational make up.

When we invest in our people, they are more engaged and connected.

People work harder when they are rewarded.

Making time to first see the good and to acknowledge people for their efforts and contributions must be made a priority. Rely on your intuitive feeling to always lead the way. Make the time to do it – now, and every time.

Recognition is the bridge to a brighter tomorrow and a successful future.

Seeing the good in others is the secret ingredient for a getting great things done.

When people are recognized, they feel connected and counted and they become passionate about their work, their life, and their purpose.

Lead from Within: Showing appreciation is not a matter of intention and attention, but a matter of priority and performance and every leader is about first seeing the good.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Jon M

    04. Sep, 2012


    Spot on. Taking a moment to recognize high performance pays dividends in so many ways, especially for the person receiving the appreciation. Work levels have intensified, yet recognition has lessened. Maybe expectations are higher, but many are delivering on the raised levels. Taking the time to say thank you is the human thing to do. It is the leader thing to do.

    Essential reminder.


    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      05. Sep, 2012


      I love this:

      Taking the time to say thank you is the human thing to do. It is the leader thing to do.

      Jon,You are brilliant!


      Reply to this comment
  2. Steve Gutzler

    04. Sep, 2012

    What a great post that really needs to spread to every boardroom and home business. I love the line..Recognition is the bridge to a brighter tomorrow and successful future. If applied daily we will each see growth and personal fruitfulness! Great Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Rose McSween

    05. Sep, 2012

    Fabulous article, Lolly. Thank you for posting it.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Mighty | Transformational Leadership

    05. Sep, 2012

    It’s not that hard to give appreciation but the culture is just used to seeing the bad, instead of the good. Thanks for highlighting the importance of appreciation, Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      05. Sep, 2012

      We must give what we want to receive.


      Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      05. Sep, 2012

      Life is made up of three unconditional properties in equal measure: Acceptance–Awareness and Appreciation!

      Reply to this comment
      • Jorge Pirela M.

        10. Sep, 2012

        Hi Lolly, I´m agreed with your article or quote. Acceptance-Awareness and Appreciation are the three unconditional prperrties in equal measures of Life is made up. Thanks, I´ll follow you.

        Reply to this comment
  5. Tamisha

    05. Sep, 2012

    Hi Lolly – I love this post. I especially love that you referred to pointing out people’s strengths. What I have seen in my experience is leadership being intimidated by the strengths of the very people they hired. Then, there’s this passive-aggressive expectation that’s formed by some leaders to soothe their own insecurities at work. What a beautiful reminder that often times, employees just simply want to be recognized for the strengths they ALREADY possess, not reminded of the ones they don’t. First, see the good. Love it!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Maarten

    05. Sep, 2012

    And thank you Tamisha, just what I wanted to say and I couldn’t have said it in a better way.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Skip Prichard

    05. Sep, 2012

    Love it. Love it. Love it.

    For many, honest and sincere praise is fuel that powers the next success.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Mike Lyles

    05. Sep, 2012


    Well said and SO true. The first thing I set out to do when I became a manager back in 2002 was to focus on making my team feel appreciated every day. We have all read leadership articles on how that people seek praise and support in many ways but I can tell you that everyone loves to be appreciated

    Well done. You have awesome tweets and blogs. I’m a follower of both. I’m on twitter @mikelyles and my blog is attached. Thanks for a great article!!

    Reply to this comment
  9. Shashi Kiran K. V.

    06. Sep, 2012

    A wonderful article…excellent work…..I notice how happy my 4 year old son feels when appreciated, like wise it has amazing effects with my wife and parents.

    while most may appreciate co-workers and colleagues….lot many forget doing same at home, taking things for granted. It is such a nice feeling to be appreciated and appreciate others in all walks of life….

    Reply to this comment
  10. Chris

    06. Sep, 2012


    This is exactly where I am finding myself drawn to and why I have begun to blog again…thank you! I am going to reblog this amazing post!

    Reply to this comment
  11. Simon

    11. Sep, 2012

    Dear Lolly,

    Of course a wonderful subject and one so much at the core of leading from within. It is quite funny how easily we can get stuck in the rut of just going through the motions of living, so easily forgetting those thank you’s, and words of encouragement.

    And then someone surprise us and shines a light in our heart and we suddenly realize that we have been wearing blinkers and forgetting how wonderful a few words said with sincerity can feel.

    Surely seeing the good in others and bringing it to light has to be one of the most underused leadership tools around. In our fast paced world we live in, those that do see the good in others at work can swiftly forget to acknowledge the accomplishment and the moment goes unacknowledged, the power of lifting others goes unused. In the long term this can start the swing to a drift to low performance and productivity can slow, people start to loose interest as good goes un noticed, or at the least unacknowledged.

    I say this because I know that this has (being an introvert) been like weed on the bottom of my boat in the past. Yes I saw the good deeds, the kindness of others and the extra effort put in without being asked for, but then I said all the “well done’s” and “awesome work” in my head and even got to the point of perhaps convincing myself that I had congratulated the people. Or sent the note of thanks for the extra effort that people had put in.

    It has been through self awareness that helped me realize the extra power within my team that I was throwing away, because I was not taking the time to stop and recognize their extra effort or great work.

    I think that leading from within is a wonderful reminder to all to think with our hearts and use the power of compassion and love in all parts of our lives, not just at home or in out personal lives.

    Life is so short and as I write on 9/11 I remember those that will never hear another word of thanks again. So I thank you for keeping my heart lit with the beauty and strength of leadfromwithin, and I look forward to tonights chat on twitter at 8pm. Keep doing what you do, your strength strengthens so many and offers us all a reminder to care for each other while leading our way through our lives.

    Great post Lolly !!

    Reply to this comment
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    21. Oct, 2012

    Definitely exciting content articles. I enjoyed reading through it.

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    28. Nov, 2012

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  15. Bob Jones

    03. Jan, 2014

    Gold star, Lolly! I love the emphasis on, “We must spot great work and then acknowledge it. When we recognize dedicated others, we must take the time to praise them.” I am good at “spotting” and “recognizing” and need improvement at “acknowledging” and “praising.”

    Reply to this comment
  16. John Nematalla

    01. Sep, 2014

    I’ll keep it brief, simply BRILLIANT Lolly. Thank you from The Land Down Under. Please keep’em coming. John

    Reply to this comment
  17. Fahmi

    26. Aug, 2016

    Hi Lolly,

    I want to thank you for sharing this article. This is outstanding!!

    Reply to this comment
  18. Tony Cordingley

    20. Aug, 2017

    “People work harder when they are rewarded.”

    Unfortunately Lolly, if you were to share this post with the average hard working factory or warehouse employee, they would most likely shrug their shoulders or roll their eyes and dismiss it as “Management Speak”. Manual workers know that hard work is rewarded with more hard work, or consider the NHS, or look at care workers.

    “True leaders are great at first seeing the good.”

    However, true leaders are very rare indeed and most managers walk around companies wearing blinkers.

    In truth, people who work hard are rarely promoted or rewarded, in fact they are often deliberately overlooked, because no manager wants to lose a good hard worker by promoting them, then having the huge headache of replacing them…. so, hard workers are more often ignored, whilst they continue to work hard, until they either burn themselves out, or one day come to realise they have been taken for a ride, then either leave the company, or increase their chances of promotion and reward by slowing down.

    It is a great article Lolly, full of positive messages and good points, however, I strongly suspect that you could repeat this article 50 years from now, for the same reasons.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      22. Aug, 2017

      Tony thank you for your comment, just because we have bad management and bad leadership doesn’t mean we cannot strife for better.

      Reply to this comment

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