Lucy Calkins also teaches us that compliments should be as dramatic as possible. When complimenting a child, you should genuinely be impressed with what they have done. Make it seem important so that kids will want to continue the good thing they have done.
First this helps us to avoid the trap of having deficit-oriented conferences. Marie Clay reminds us that when you build on a deficit, it's like building a house on a weak foundation, and why would you do that? Instead of teaching what kids aren't doing or what they're doing badly, Sometimes those are things they aren't even ready to learn yet. Instead, we should aim for the concepts they are already approximating, because we know they are ready to learn those things.
For example, if a student is using dialogue in her writing, we can aim to teach about how to use the dialogue more effectively, as a means of show, not tell, or in a way that moves the story along, or in a way that foreshadows upcoming events. By basing the teaching point on something the student is already sort of doing, the conference feels less like an attack.
The same thing can be done when principals observe teachers. Take a look at what the teacher is already doing, acknowledge it, and then build on it. It will make observations feel less like the anxiety-provoking inspection and more like an opportunity for growth.
I remember when I was a child hearing teachers' tirades on children. The self-fulfilling prophecy is true. Kids do what we lay out as expectations of them! When we deal with negative behaviors, we need to pair them up with positive attributes that may have somehow been overlooked in the heat of the moment of childhood. If kids tease, remind them what good friends they usually are. If kids lose their tempers, remind them how patient they are known to be. If they give up, talk about how resilient you've known them to be!