Positive acknowledgement

Have you ever experienced a delayed flight due to an issue with the aircraft? If you’ve spent any time at all traveling by air, chances are good that the answer is, “yes.”

One of the delays I experienced was for a problem with the landing gear indicator lights. It turns out that airplanes have indicator lights to tell the pilot that the landing gear is down and locked, ready for landing. I hadn’t been aware of that before.  And it got me thinking.

Most of us are familiar with the lights on car dashboards. Car dashboard lights indicate a problem. They are warning lights. The expected behavior is for all lights to be off.

Airplanes are different. Cockpit dashboards are full of positive indicator lights. What you want to see here are lights that are all on.

In my experience, most of us operate under the car dashboard model when providing feedback to others. We only signal when there is a problem.

Meanwhile, most of us have a pilot’s mind set in our desire for feedback from others. We crave positive acknowledgement. Not praise, necessarily, simply acknowledgement that we are headed in the right direction.

It’s amazing how much impact simple positive acknowledgement can have on a relationship, especially when done consistently.

It doesn’t take much. A simple, “Thank you.”  A little head nod.  Maybe a quick, “Exactly what I was looking for.”

But, it does require effort. We have been trained by our cars to speak up only when there is a problem. Don’t wait until it’s time to turn on the check engine light.  Train yourself to acknowledge the landing gear is down and locked. All systems, “GO.”