Career SkillsLessons on Leadership

Become a Hype Ambassador: Small Actions, Big Impact

By Jacquelyn Adams

In a world that sometimes feels divisive and broken, it can be tempting to join the chorus saying, “The world is falling apart.“ We can say it with resignation as we wash our hands of the whole affair, or… or… we can look for those small impact points and strive to make a difference. Will I cure cancer or solve world hunger? Obviously not. However, I recognize that I can make someone else’s day better or worse by how I engage with them. Making a positive impact requires paying attention and seeking out opportunities. One of my new favorite ways to do this is to be a hype girl. In the following paragraphs, I will give you a few examples of how we can make a slight, but significant, difference in people’s lives.

Hype good service

Question time: How often do you issue a complaint about bad service? Alright, now consider how often you issue a compliment about excellent service. Too often, we are quick to complain but slow to affirm. When a manager’s presence is requested, it is usually assumed that there is a problem of some kind, not that people want to express gratitude. This complaining has become so common that we now have a phrase expressly for that: “being a Karen.” You can be the opposite of a ‘Karen’ by praising more than you complain — a lot more. When we take the time to look, we can see that there are many hardworking, praiseworthy people whose actions are laudable. They are kind, thoughtful, polite, go the extra mile, look you in the eye, are passionate about their work, and share their expertise. The list can go on and on, but if their actions make your day a bit better or smoother, consider acknowledging it to that person — and even their supervisor.

Hype in a public forum

While it is great to hype someone to a manager, there are also instances where we can give a longer-lasting hype. My preferred forum for this is LinkedIn. Out of curiosity, I did a check for this article, and at this point I have written more than 40 recommendations on LinkedIn. These are people that I have worked with in some capacity and recognized the unique and noteworthy skills that they bring to the table. Will my recommendations green light these people during their next interview process? Probably not. But I think there is value in giving a well-crafted and personal recommendation (each is individualized, nothing generic). It helps people feel seen and appreciated. We all have moments when we forget what we bring to the table. It is so good when someone else reminds us, and even better when it’s unsolicited. So please, today, consider praising a colleague, whether on LinkedIn, in the workplace break room, on their review page, or wherever it can make a positive impact.

Extra hyping for the special case

Alright, this last hype is a mini-storytime. Back when I was running cross country as a college freshman at Case Western Reserve University, there was an upperclassman runner I really admired. She was super smart, witty and just plain cool. Fast forward fifteen years, and we reconnected. She was doing awesome work in her career, but I realized that she was missing opportunities. She was truly the ideal IEEE member and would be an excellent speaker/thought leadership writer. So, I started connecting her with people in my IEEE network. I hyped her up to my internal network and she delivered on my promises. Those connections have increased her platform and created new opportunities in her career portfolio. This was 100% justified, legit hype, and it positively impacted her life, those around her… and my life, too.

The amazing thing about being a hype girl is that I get to win, too — and not because I will get something out of it or because someone will owe me. If it is a stranger like that salesperson who provided amazing service, I will likely never see the end results of my email to her boss. However, each opportunity to be a hype person is like throwing seeds on the ground. Some of them will yield nothing, but some will grow. Even if I never see the flowers or eat the fruit, I still know that some of them will have an impact somewhere. Maybe it made one person’s life a little better in that moment. Maybe that person will choose to pay it forward. I don’t know. I just know that when I hear people say, “The world is falling apart,“ I can stand beside the people who hype me and the people who I have hyped, and we are on safer, more solid ground because of our connection.


Jacquelyn Adams

Jacquelyn Adams, founder and CEO of Ristole, uses her column to delve into the wild world of leadership. Whether the article is about her days as a Peace Corp volunteer, exploring corporate training, or even grabbing lunch at Chipotle — she will come out with a story and her “top tips.” As she passionately believes in leveraging her platform to share others’ voices, her column welcomes guest bloggers to create a fuller and more diverse pool of experiences for her readership. So, welcome to “Lessons on Leadership” where you never know what the next article will hold: online networking advice, guidelines for creating a joyful workplace, or even puppies. Just keep reading to discover what’s next!

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