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Encouragement: the Essence of Great Leadership

Estimated reading time: 7 mins

Leading a team is not always that smooth. On the contrary, there are any instances where things get bumpy. These difficult circumstances truly bring out the leader in you. At a time of panic and difficulty, nothing calms the nerves of the entire team than a few words of encouragement by the leader. It might seem like a small thing to you but in reality, encouragement is a powerful thing. Encouraging others mean that you are instilling courage in others.

Encouragement is bigger than motivation because you motivate those who are already inclined to succeed, but you encourage those who have lost hope. In this blog post, we will be talking about how encouragement is essential for any great leader and what steps you can take to encourage your colleagues when they might be down.

How Can You Be an Encouraging Leader?

More Praising, Less Criticism. If you read credible researches on motivation, you will find out that praising usually works much better than criticism. Our emotions work like a fuel tank. There has to be more fuel in the tank than what is consumed. Praising someone fills them with positive emotions and criticising them drains these positive emotions. Read Praise… Let it Flow, Let it Flow, Let it Flow. As a leader, you need to encourage your team positively by praising them for their efforts. You can also criticise them if you feel there needs to be some corrective action taken but just do not be too hard on them.

Acknowledge their Potential. Encouraging others involve acknowledgment of the fact that people being encouraged might not know that they are doing things wrongly. It is possible for them to think they are doing just fine and that they are ambitious and effective. You need to cleverly use encouragement to burst this bubble of self-confidence. To be encouraging, you need to know that a certain person in your team is not trying hard enough and that if they tried, they could do great things. One key way to encouraging is to have the ability to deliver bad news in a way that it does not disappoint the individual. You need to be tactful with your encouragement. You can start off by telling them their strengths and then adding some constructive feedback in the end. Say something like, “You are a brilliant and active individual who has so many good ideas.” And then say something like, “I really want to see how you can use these great personality traits in a more organised manner.” Message given clearly and no hard feelings!

Encourage Specifically. You tend to motivate people as a whole but encouragement is something that you should do more specifically. This way, the person you encourage is also accountable for his/her actions in the future. You should say things like, “I think you have great potential to be a leader but in order to do that, you should consider taking this project.” Avoid criticising straight away and try and specifically help an individual with what needs to be done.

Why is Encouragement Important?

Encouragement is a way to empower others. People tend to be much better at work when they feel empowered. Encouragement gives them earning on the job and a sense of autonomy. They feel confidence in what they are doing, translating into better team performance. Yet, it allows you to have control and not give too much in the name of autonomy because good encouragement always ends with constructive feedback.

You will have to discourage alongside encourage and this can be a bit tricky for you as a leader. However, if done tactfully, the reward will be sweet. This is because essentially you help someone achieve a goal as well as contributed to the success of your company at a hard time. You end up looking like a smart coach who brought the best from his/her team.

Encouragement has two parts – pointing out the potential and challenging that person to succeed in reaching a goal. As a leader, you have to believe in the other person’s abilities and then you need to challenge him or her to achieve a goal. This makes it an effective approach as a leader at times when you might be facing difficulties with running your business. It is important to note that while you can motivate anyone, you can encourage only the people you actually believe in. Encouragement demands specificity. To put it simply – you do not encourage anyone to succeed (that will be motivation); you encourage anyone to succeed at a specific job. You encourage people to do things that you feel they have the potential to do but they themselves are not thinking about.

Many of the real-life success stories have someone being encouraged to do something. Encouragement also needs to be followed with guidance. As a mentor, you need to provide with the right guidance and support to make this challenge achievable. When you encourage someone, you not only change the way they work but also the way they perceive their own abilities. Such decisions can help them change their careers and lives and help bring good fortunes for your own business.

Tackling the Crunch Situations as a Leader

Control the Fear. Having the courage to encourage others at work does not mean you do not have fear. As a leader, you need to stop fear from becoming contagious. The entire team should feel that you are well in control of the entire situation and that is why words of encouragement re so important in fighting fear.

Mission Comes First, Come What May. You seriously owe a lot to your tem for trusting you with your decisions. So give them a goal worth dedicating their efforts to. You can also motivate your team by showing them that you are willing to do all that it takes to achieve your goals.

The Goal Comes Before You. The only way to make a mission-first strategy work is if you set example yourself. You need to put the goal before yourself as well. Saying goodbye to your own luxuries and not taking your own profit and bonus along with the team will be the kind of push your team might need to give their all. Check out this blog post on goal-setting strategies for project success.

Prepare Yourself & Your Team. Just as good encouragement comes with mentorship, you will need to prepare yourself to face the challenges ahead as well. You should have a robust plan on how you will handle crunch situations when they happen. Being prepared will save you important time when a difficult situation arises.

Be Human. At all times, you need to stay compassionate. Be nice to your team. Encourage them with love and care. Show that their betterment and welfare is a major objective for you. Company success without individual success is not sustainable. Your team should know that even though you are tough, you do have a heart and you react to the world and the people around you as a strong leader and not a machine.

Have Effective Communication. When faced with a difficult situation, we tend to get a bit jittery and lose our natural flow of communication. You need to keep good communication with the entire team and keep them in the loop as much as possible. Trusting your team and sharing the exact situation with them will make them feel responsible and motivated to make a difference. Failing to communicate the exact situation with them will mean that they will not be able to contribute effectively.

Use All Resources Effectively. When you have issues at work, you need to be careful with how you use the resources at hand. Wasting time and energy might turn out to be costly. Be smart with all your decisions and exhaust your team only when necessary. You need some fresh minds around you to make better decisions.

Look for Inspiration. If you need inspiration then you might find it helpful to imitate the leaders you like. Many people have been inspired by the late Steve Jobs. In modern times, personalities like Elon Musk also inspire many people looking for ways to shift tides and bring back their companies from adverse situations. Learn from the life of other leaders to see how you can battle difficult situations and encourage your team to turn around fortunes of your company.

Encouragement needs to be the Cornerstone. Whatever you do, you need to make sure that encouragement stays central to your discussion with the team members. Keep track of all the discussions you have with your team and then make sure you track their progress and give constructive feedback.

We hope these tips will help you as a leader as well as an individual in helping encourage the people around you. Do share your opinions with us in the comments section. You might also like our other blog posts on similar topics like this blog post on encouraging your staff more effectively and giving your team a break

 
This post is part 9 of 9 in the series New Managers

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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