• Eric Dahl

Words are Powerful

Positive words have pushed me on to do great things and in turn negative statements have made me doubt myself and ability. Of the 34 some General Managers I have had in almost 35 years in television, not all of them were the best leaders or motivators. But, some of them were and even the bad ones I learned things to do and not to do with my staffs and peers. Some bosses were bullies because that was how they were taught and it is unfortunate that after being bullied they applied the same methodologies. Chuck Voss was a great Promotion Manager back in Cape Girardeau that gave me a shot to be a Promotion Assistant working for him. He would give me a list of movie promos and shows to build and tell me when he needed them for air. Chuck was always a positive force and encouraged me to push my creative bounds. In the realm of music my father encouraged me to start singing when I was 15 years old, since he couldn’t and it held him back from gigs. I was trying to sing a song (that was out of my range vocally) in our basement with the jam band one night and a family friend stated how badly I sounded on it and I should really re-think singing it all. Although it wasn’t meant to be hurtful it took me years to not be self-conscious when I was singing and there is still a nagging voice in the back of my head from time to time. Compared to my guitar playing that was always reinforced. Words are powerful and most of us don’t consider the full ramifications of the effect that our words will have on others. What might be a throw away statement in our minds could cause lasting damage to someone else. Plus, we don’t know most people’s backgrounds fully and how they were treated or spoken to growing up or in previous jobs. I’ve gone through Dale Carnegie training three times in different levels and much of what they portrait, even though it is steeped in history, is spot on. If I am going to give one of my staffers suggestions I am also going to balance that with positive comments to keep them motivated. None of us want to have our newest project, idea or plan ripped apart by someone else, even if it is done with good intention. Some of my bosses that brought out the best in me used positive words and gave me opportunities that were probably beyond my capabilities at those moments, but I rose to the occasion and accomplished them. Steve Engles threw Live Sports production on me back in 1991 and it was a heavy learning curve with many mistakes along the way. But I went on to produce hundreds of live sports events for broadcast after he entrusted me, and an incredible station crew, with this duty. It created a lasting bond between all of us that worked those games and we shared in the victories. Steve would brag about his live sports productions to anyone that listen in Cape Girardeau and gave us all the credit for getting them to air. The first time we saw our live footage on ESPN and other major Sports networks it was just an amazing feeling of achievement. When I got to Las Vegas, Rob Weisbord had frequent one on one meetings with me and told me he wanted to be wowed and wanted his stations to be the most creative in the market. From producing high school sports, to network launches and a news launch he gave me his full supportive. The pep-talks that we would have at Starbucks would always leave me feeling energized and ready to take on the world. My previous bosses that grew me as a person and a manager did it through their words and actions. It wasn’t about getting a raise or a new title it was about winning, giving 110% and being recognized for those efforts with my creative team. I still seek that today and I think we all do. From our bosses, loved ones, family and friends we need affirmation that what we are doing is good and worthy. Otherwise why are we doing it, what is the driver and is the end result really worth it? Words can make us and break us. Everyone, myself included, need to weigh our words carefully as we dole them out to our co-workers and others in our lives. I personally don’t want to hold someone back with my words, but if I can help push them in the right direction and see their victories there is no better feeling. Sometimes it can be as simple as “Thank you” and “Good Job,” but we must verbalize these affirmations as well otherwise the people around us won’t know it! A few words for all of us to consider this week.

Two very Powerful Words!