June 30, 2014
By Eric Schrager, Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- If resilience had a tag line, it would be "other people matter."
We can only make it so far on our own.
Resilient individuals understand this and reach out to others to help them.
Two skills that can be used to enhance and build this connection with those we value are "effective praise" and "active constructing responding."
We're generally very good at providing a helping hand or a shoulder when things are not going well. But these two skills will help you answer the question, "Will you be there for me when things go right?"
-- Effective Praise
We are usually very quick to let those in our lives know when they have made a mistake. We not only will point out their mistakes, but we'll name the exact process, time line and skills it took to cause such a blunder.
This practice is not done out of spite. We want those we value to perform better, and effective criticism is our way of getting that message across. But what happens when those we value perform well? How do we respond when individuals master a skill or showcase their talent? That's where effective praise comes in.
Much like our thorough process of criticizing, when we effectively praise successes, we name the specific strategy, effort or skill that led to that successful outcome. This practice accomplishes a number of things.
First, effective praise will enable winning streaks. The next time that individual approaches a task, they can do so with the confidence built from previous successes. Effective praise also demonstrates to that individual that you were actually watching, as well as highlighting your authenticity.
-- Active Constructive Responding
ACR is all about understanding the way we respond to people when they bring us good news.
Research has uncovered four distinct styles of responding, with only one leading to stronger relationships. The other three styles won't necessarily ruin a relationship the first time they're employed, but over time, may chip away at that bond until the connection is severed.
The four styles of responding are passive constructive, passive destructive, active destructive and active constructive. A good news example is being told by a friend that his sister is pregnant, and he'll be an uncle for the first time.
•Passive constructive: "Oh, that's nice. Good for you."
•Passive destructive: "I actually just found out that my sister is having twins. It is really exciting; it's going to be my parents' 5th and 6th grandchild. They sure are getting used to it by now. Let me show you a picture of my nephew."
•Active destructive: "Aren't you a little worried about your sister's health? I mean these days all the complications that come with pregnancy and the possibilities for something to go wrong must be so scary for not just you, but your entire family as well, right?"
•Active constructive: "Oh, excellent. That's got to be exciting for you. Do they know if it's a boy or girl yet? Do you know the due date yet? I am sure you are excited to be an uncle and spoil the little guy or girl."
Think about how someone would feel after being responded to with the first three styles. Feelings of anger, confusion, embarrassment, disappointment, guilt and being misunderstood could be experienced.
How do you respond when someone you care about shares good news? Do you consistently use ACR or do you unknowingly fall into one of the other responses, causing a slight rift each time?
These two skills present a very beneficial self-awareness opportunity. By consistently using ACR and effective praise, you'll have the opportunity to build stronger relationships, enhance belonging, well-being and life satisfaction for both people.
For more information about this and other CSF2 skills, contact your unit Master Resilience Trainer or call the CSF2 Training Center at (808) 655-9804.