What Darth Vader can teach us about support?

I recently got a new SatNav and my two sons persuaded me to download the Darth Vader voice. It was a bit of a giggle being told “take the left, it is the way of the Sith” and “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

This morning I was driving on my own and found myself smiling as I took a sharp bend and Darth said “Impressive, very impressive” and as the journey progressed, “you are getting stronger.”

Now I recognise that it would be a very sad state of affairs if I were to rely on a SatNav to affirm my worth and I could definitely teach Darth a thing or two about being specific in his feedback, but it did get me thinking about how important it is to receive support and encouragement particularly when your journey is a challenging one.

Agreed destinations, clear guidance, and on-going support and encouragement are vital, and available to many of us in the form of great teachers, outstanding managers and inspirational leaders, but that isn’t always the case.

If you are a leader or manager, what are you actively and consistently doing to let your team know they are on the right track, are contributing value and supporting you in your wider goals? How confident are you that they know exactly what it is that you appreciate about them and the work they produce?

If you are an individual contributor, where do you turn to for your support?  When your manager isn’t giving you the feedback you need, who else can become your cheerleader and guide?  Look for friends, family, colleagues, other managers or coaches who can help you recognise where you add value, identify your personal and professional strengths and who can support you when the going gets tough.

You don’t have to cross to the dark side, or rely on a SatNav to feel good.

And remember managers, it’s far more energising  to hear “You are achieving your destiny” than to hear “You have reached your destination.”