Over the past year, I have started to share and post more of my content on LinkedIn.

Most of my articles are written in a positive tone and attempt to propose solutions to common leadership and organizational challenges. Therefore, I’m always surprised by people who choose to comment on articles with insults, banter and accusations, often about something that wasn’t even directed at or personal to them in any way.

Posting these kinds of responses and comments on such a public forum is not only unproductive, it’s shortsighted for those in leadership positions; and it’s downright foolish for people who are actively seeking employment.

I would never hire or partner with anyone I found spending their time and energy in this manner and I can only imagine how bosses and team members react when they come across this sort of behavior from a colleague.

I am a big boy and can handle it, but I simply can’t comprehend why anyone would intentionally go out of their way to make strangers feel bad about themselves or their beliefs. It’s bananas.

Speaking of bananas, a lot of these individuals could learn from the example of Stacey Truman, an inspiring leader and cafeteria manager at an elementary school in Virginia Beach, VA.

Using a black marker, each morning she writes inspirational messages on the bananas that are a part of lunch that day.

Here are some examples of messages she’s written on her now designated “talking bananas:”

“Not all those who wander are lost.”  

“If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”  

 “You get what you give.”

“Never give up.”

“Your future is bright.”

Writing uplifting messages on bananas was a practice she started for her two daughters (10 and 7) to build them up and help them start their day on a positive note. She then thought that the kids at the school might have a similar feel-good response, and she was right.

In an interview, Truman said, “I want them to succeed in life and have an awesome day at school. Whenever I can put a smile on all of those little faces, I’ve done my job.”

Her “talking bananas” have made a bigger impact than she could have imagined and her story has taken off on social media. She’s now garnering national attention for the right reasons and inspiring strangers to want to uplift and build capacity in others with far less effort than it takes to troll social media looking to pick a fight.

While I don’t expect “talking bananas” to become ubiquitous in corporate cafeterias anytime soon, the lesson is that while we don’t have to agree, we can all be nicer in how we disagree. And we all have the ability to use our energy in more productive ways that inspire and lift others up.

You never know how something as simple—and free to give—as an encouraging word can impact people for years to come, especially if it comes at the right time.


Quote of The Week

“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.”

Blaise Pascal


Image Credit: Washington Post.