Leadership Skill: Encouragement

“The secret of leadership is simple.  Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future and go there.  People will follow.

                                                                                                         – Seth Godin

Encourage: give support, confidence, or hope to (someone), give support and advice to (someone) so that they will do or continue to do something, help or stimulate (an activity, state, or view) to develop

To encourage is to give active help or to raise confidence to the point where one dares to do what is difficult.

To hearten is to put one’s heart into or to renew someone’s spirit.

To inspire is to infuse with confidence, resolution, or enthusiasm.

To foster is to encourage by nurturing or extending aid.

 

 I have recently heard managers use words that make me cringe when referring to corrective action with employees, words such as:

  • punishment
  • discipline
  • write-up
  • reprimand

As a leader, you will not get very far with taking employees to the next level of performance with this mindset.  If employees use these terms, so be it, they do not know any better.  But… make every effort to expunge such words from your culture.

Instead, corrective action should be simply a means of communicating an area that a team member needs to improve.  Substitute these words:

  • performance improvement
  • redirection
  • positive reinforcement
  • coaching points

Corrective action is not punishment or discipline.  Corrective action is communication and encouragement about performance improvement.  You need to be clearly on the employee’s side until it is obvious that they can’t or won’t meet the required expectations.

 

Tips for encouraging others:

  1. Thank those who help you along the way. Give compliments when warranted.  Say, “We couldn’t have done it without you.”

 

  1. Be friendly, but professional.  Be a good listener.  Be matter of fact when giving redirection.  Say, “It may be best for you to work with Tim a little longer.  Pay attention to the order he does things.  What do you think?”

 

  1. Observe when someone does something (anything) particularly well, especially when it seems natural to them.  Let them know you noticed.  Build on the positives.  Say, “I observed you today when you re-organized the way you were doing things.  That is exactly what we are looking for.”

 

  1. Set the Tone. Distinguish yourself as a positive, “can do” leader.  Say “I am certain you can conquer the challenge.”

 

  1. Jump In. Take the initiative to help someone who is needs redirection or is overwhelmed. Ask, “How can I help?”

 

 

“There is a maxim that is indisputable: people may not remember what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.  You must give people your emotional commitment to enlist them in the results you want to achieve.” 

– Loretta Malandro, PhD

 

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