Part of our tasks as leaders wherever we’re called is to encourage others to believe in themselves. This is both the greatest thrill and greatest challenge in leading each day.
Encouraging lifts people up, boosts their value, and let’s them know others believe in them. Some helpful tips on encouraging:
1. Make it your daily mission. Reach out and touch someone in a positive way, every day. This is a vital habit to nurture along. If necessary, make a list each week of people you want to connect with.
2. Edify one person in each area if your life throughout the week. Whether it’s your team, your boss, a sister, a long-time acquaintance, or even a stranger, tap into all areas if your world and make each one brighter. I regularly call a friend in Michigan who I was a customer of. We chat business and coffee while he’s in the Mid-West and I’m in New England. About once a year, I’ll call a former employer or boss and chat or email, just to see how they are doing, professionally and personally.
3. In person, phone, email, social media, use whatever means you have. We are so connected now that this is incredibly easy to do. I regularly text three young men whom are away in college to keep them motivated, especially during finals. They’re busy so calling doesn’t always work. But a well-timed text let’s them know they have support and that they can call when they have the need or time.
4. Think nothing of yourself, except building the esteem of others. You will soon be excited for the time to connect and make someone feel like a hero. It will be the high point of your day.
Wherever you go, leave an impression. Make a trail that leads back to you as an example of compassion and encouragement. It will become a reputation and legacy that others will follow as well.
Moving a team in the proper direction requires leaders that can keep the compass pointed toward the correct goal. Leaders that can chart out the course, see the ocean of opportunity, and navigate the waters ahead. Leaders that are good at moving along according to the mission and values of the people and organization they serve.
Unfortunately many leaders shipwreck their teams, and themselves.
There are 3 types of leadership styles, 3 directions towards which they bring a team. Some are destructive, others counter-productive. Only one will achieve success for themselves and those around them. They are the anchormen, the pirates, and the captains. Let’s take a quick look at the traits of each.
Anchormen. The Landlubbers.
These are people who hold the team back. They are the landlubbers that would rather stay ashore and want you to stay with them so they can have company to allay their fears.
They don’t embrace change or progress. They will discourage anyone else from charging forward. There are many reasons for this: fear of their own inadequacy, of change, of being challenged by other’s growth, just to name a few. Sometimes it’s because they don’t by into the mission of the organization. For whatever the reason, they would rather embrace the status quo.
Anchormen discourage people from any ideas they bring up.
However, in today’s world, if you stay put you fall farther behind. Then there needs to be more energy extended to catch up. In a yacht race, is crucial to stay in the race from the start. Lagging behind will require a lot more work from your crew to make up.
Pirates. The Scourge of the Seas.
Of the 3 leadership directions, this one is the most subtle. Pirates may fully help chart the forward progress, but as the ship is sailing they will alter the course while everyone is busy and before one knows it, the team has drifted away.
As the ones who have a personal agenda, pirates seek riches and loyalty all for themselves. They will start giving askew orders and gain a following, then start to turn a small crew into a band that is dissatisfied with the mission. Before the rest of the team knows, there is discord. The pirates goal is to sabotage the mission, and thus claim the victory all to themselves. This is the classic definition of mutiny.
Their basis for getting off course is nothing more than to satisfy an ego or a need that isn’t met from the team, so the ship and her crew become the vehicle for obtaining these selfish ambitions. One must be discerning of this type of leader, and ring the bell when they see the mission veer off course.
Captains. The Stargazers that Chart the Course.
These are the true leaders. They are the ones that keep the maps and scopes out at all times for everyone to see. They assign everyone a specialized duty, and expect nothing less than the duties to be met. Yet these leaders also enable the crew to do whatever it takes, to adopt an “all hands on deck” mentality when extra effort is needed to weather a storm.
Captains build a strong and dedicated crew. They instill a heightened sense of mission that allows their teams to see the final destination even amidst choppy waters and meager provisions (resources). This type of crew is not phased by the landlubbers, and will resist the pirates – maybe even make them walk the plank.
Captains will give their crew the proper provisions, recognition, and sacrifice their comfort if necessary for the sake of the team. They carry their duty with honor and dignity, knowing that they’re modeling the behavior they want in order for their mission to be obtained.
Conclusion: Be on the lookout for the various types of crew in your organizations ships. Get aboard. Thwart the pirates. Support the captain. Become a captain. Set your sails to new vistas, because life boats never make it to the golden horizon.
There I was, sitting in one of our regular sales meetings. While this had been a tremendously busy time of year, we endured an otherwise positive but long day of corporate goals, product demos, and individual achievements. As is our routine, our division president stood before us to wrap up with an encouraging stump speech to get us motivated for the coming weeks.
Near the end of a heartfelt and authentic talk, he shared a bit of his sales experience and capped the thought by stating “I truly think that sales is the greatest profession out there.”
In reviewing those words over the next few days, I have come to believe quite differently. Sales may be a great career in terms of potential income and personal development. Customers may be satisfied by the product or service provided; however is there anything truly lasting in the transaction? Products wear out or are consumed, and services need to be retained, so the lasting impact is truly limited.
The greatest profession is one that gives the most lasting positive impact on everyone and everything involved. The one that benefits individuals, organizations, common values, and vision not just for the immediate, but for years and generations to come.
The greatest profession of all is LEADERSHIP.
Leadership transforms personal lives (Zig Ziglar). It develops countries (Founding Fathers, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi) It changes industries (Henry Ford, Steve Jobs). It creates successive leaders over multiple generations (GE’s Reginald Jones).
Leadership takes the form of a mother who nurtures her children to use their gifts to live a better life. It is personified in the volunteer who steps forth to save a life during a disaster, thus keeping a family dream alive. It is the spirit in a country that is faced with a grave threat and barks back “Never, never, never, never give up!”. It is leadership that creates jobs, mentors people, shares vision, and grows teams that multiply over time and revolutionize their worlds.
Leadership, in every capacity, transcends all professions to make the world greater every day.
What could be a greater calling in life?