We all need encouragement! No one is suffering from too much encouragement in their lives! Very few people are begging for people to stop with the positive comments and uplifting reinforcements of their strengths, performance, and impact. Often, we find the exact opposite! Through research and experience in working with companies, organizations, and sports teams, we typically discover that people are suffering from a total lack of encouragement! In these environments, archaic leaders look at encouragement as a soft concept and believe that pay is a better motivator than praise. They falsely question why they would encourage someone who accomplished what they are paying them to do.
The word encouragement comes from the Latin word “cor” meaning “heart.” Encourage is really a strong word that literally means to give heart, strength, and confidence to others. The best leaders, teams, and organizations view encouragement as one of the keys to engagement. Employees emotionally engage in their work and become fully committed when they feel supported and trusted. Transformational leaders know that encouragement is a tangible investment in the emotional bank account of their employees and culture that yields tremendous returns both in the short and long term.
Here are 3 ways that the best leaders encourage the people they lead and influence:
- Communicate Belief – Great leaders communicate the 4 most critical words when it comes to encouragement: “I Believe In You!” They do this through their words – actually saying this powerful statement – and through their actions. When employees feel like their leaders believe in them and their potential, they will rise to any challenge and fully commit their heart and head to achieving the goal! Two key questions for you as a leader are: Do the people you lead and influence know you believe in them, and how are you demonstrating this?
- Instill Trust – Great leaders instill trust in others by doing two things. First, they give up control of tasks. They learn to delegate effectively to team members who are ready and able to take on that responsibility. And while they still coach and guide them, they also learn to give up control of the how, or the process to accomplish the task, knowing that there could be a better and different way to get to the same result. This inspires creativity for the team members and innovation within the culture. When you give up control, people feel encouraged by your belief and trust in their abilities and potential!
- Match Responsibility With Authority – Great leaders not only give responsibility to others, but they also grant them the authority to carry out the task. People must have the authority – ability to make decisions, invest money, commit resources – that aligns with the responsibility that is given. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is a perfect example of this as they give every employee the responsibility and authority to anticipate and fulfill the needs of their guests up to $2000 per incident no matter what their title is within the organization.
As a leader and influencer, you can be a force that brings encouragement and support to others. As you think about the different roles that you play in life, I encourage you to think about who you need to encourage this week. Use these techniques to help you in the process. Also, make sure that you are authentic, specific, and timely in your praise and encouragement. People know when it is fake, and they will not receive it nor will it inspire them to greatness.
Make a positive difference today! Be a leader who encourages others!
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