The Benefits Of Encouragement
Human nature – and leadership for that matter – has an innate tendency to be critical and negative.
When things go wrong we default to a blame mode.
When things go right we talk about what could have gone better.
This is not always the case, however, but more often than not, there is a tendency to slip into the negative behaviors more easily than positive ones.
As a leader, and one who is supposed to cast vision to inspire greater performance, there is no room for negative or critical attitudes.
At best, this type of thinking generates results – for a little while. They also generate resentment, disengagement, and loss of your influence. At the worst, your folks are unmotivated or even scared to make things happen.
The fact is that people on your teams always need encouragement, that little boost daily to spur them on to better performance and to feel like they are appreciated in their work.
More than acknowledging their work by the end of day “Thank you”, a leader who encourages their people will seek for opportunities to essentially say “Come on, you can jump to this next stone” as they cross the waters of their career.
Studies have shown that people who are appreciated and informed that their work matters have a higher rate of loyalty, engagement, and ownership than those who are fed nothing but criticism.
Encouragement can take many forms:
- Reminding someone of their learning trajectory, and how they are on both a short and long-term track to mastering certain competencies
- Verifying your trust in them, especially for solid decisions they have made
- Giving them the benefit of the doubt, such as taking ownership as a leader for gaps in their training or putting yourself in their shoes and the challenges they face in their daily work routines
- Showing them new skills and techniques at every opportunity, thereby giving them more skills to accomplish their mission
- Be conscious of your voice and body language, communicating to them besides your words that you’re committed to their growth and career development
A worker had the opportunity after a challenging year to fill out his portion of his annual evaluation. He marked himself in many areas as partially meeting expectations, as he recognized many areas he could have improved on over the past year. His boss, however, gave him higher marks instead, telling him that he felt the person fully met HIS (the bosses) expectations of where he should be. The boss also recognized the tough year, and that his team member had some great things in the works that needed to be brought out. He felt those seeds of loyal work in the face of adversity, as well as telling him he is doing an overall solid job, would help him be motivated for a rebound year.
The employee did indeed have a great next year, largely because he felt that he was making valued contributions to the company. His boss was very factual in his review, and instead of picking apart the lost opportunity he highlighted what was going right and this made all the difference the next year.
Leaders, how can your people benefit from encouragement? Where can you cast a wider vision and inspire your people to better, more committed, and sustainable performance? Adopting the right mindset in yourself will help your folks adopt the needed mindset they need as well.