John Denver was famous for his syrupy feel-good singalong type songs in the 1970’s. Yes, I knew and liked some of his songs as they were positive, ethereal and innocent. How could life really be difficult living in the Rocky Mountains? “Sunshine on my Shoulders” is one of his classics.

What on earth brings this to mind? In this  Omni-everything world of hyper-activity, ADHD and tectonic change due to technological advances and online supremacy, people need the proper amount of mentorship, attention and positive reinforcement.

It used to be that people were developed by constant criticism, so called “tough love” and top down leadership. There is no way that works today. I can tell you from years of developing junior and senior executives and even coaching minor hockey and soccer, only positive, inspirational, honest, articulate and empathetic feedback and coaxing works best for most people. reverse mentorship has also had a positive impact on senior leaders with open minds and open hearts who want to learn and develop and ensure they are relevant in the latter stages of their careers.

I often think of Denver’s lyrics “Sunshine on my Shoulders” as an apt metaphor for the type of coaching and reinforcement that will accelerate people’s development. It’s as if you are looking out for them from behind, nudging them ahead and into the light. Or, you are helping light the path and guide them in the right direction by lighting the way.

What people today need is more sunshine on their shoulders and not those dark clouds  of intimidation, withering criticism and submission following behind them.

Enjoy the walk down memory lane…Sunshine on my Shoulders by John Denver