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Relationships and leadership are very similar in how you view them. Some view them like a glass half-full. Others half-empty. Then there’s always that one that is questioning why the glass. You see it’s not always what you say or even when or how you say it. It’s how it is received.

We usually respond to those around us in one of three ways-kudos, guidance, or criticism. Kudos is praise. Guidance is training or teaching or admonishing or encouraging. And, of course, criticism which is often negative or condescending, speaking down, or cutting someone down.

I try to encourage leaders to look and even judge yourself to see how you are doing in those areas. Rate yourself. How many times a day do you give kudos, or do you give guidance, or criticism? Maybe use a Post-it note. Maybe write an encouraging note and put it on their door or on their desk. Write something that encourages them and stick it on their shirt as you walk by.  You could give kudos and guidance the same way.

You want to stay away from negative criticism when at all possible. Occasionally there may be a need for that. We understand that. But you want to go through the day and see how you do overall. Maybe even rate yourself. Every time you give a kudo check it off. Guidance. Check it off. Criticism, same thing.

At the end of the day, see how you are doing. How balanced are you in your communication as a leader? Maybe consider giving three or four kudos for every guidance and be even more careful about the criticism.

If you really want to give the kind of guidance needed, then you need to give adequate kudos so they will receive and understand what you are trying to say. You can give to others the way you would want to have it given to you. If you will serve them in a better way than that, you will always come across in your relationships and leadership in a positive and a very effective manner.