“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Teresa
Years ago, I was frustrated by my inability to advance in my career. I continually saw others receive jobs I had applied for, even though I felt that my skill set and level of performance made me more qualified. This happened so many times, I was ready to quit and move into another field.
One day, seemingly out of the blue, I received a call from a hiring manager who had heard about me from a colleague of hers who was familiar with my work. The recommendation I had received was so strong that the manager was ready to hire me without even having met. The encouragement I received from that unsolicited recommendation and subsequently the new job proved to be the spring board to a successful career.
We all need encouragement. No matter how battle toughened we may become, we all have a desire to be encouraged to keep going and strive to conquer new challenges. As leaders, it is important to always remember that we need to invest part of ourselves in the development of those around us. One of the best ways that you can do that is through encouragement.
There may be no more powerful words a leader can speak than these: “I believe in you.”
Encouraging leaders bring out the best in people. When people are encouraged they feel valued, capable, confident and motivated. Here are a few rules to live by when it comes to being an encouraging leader:
- Commit to encouragement daily. Make encouragement part of your “to-do” list. Place the word encouragement on your calendar as a reminder, or post a sticky note on your computer. Anywhere you have a team member, customer, business contact, friend or family member, there is an opportunity for encouragement. The more you practice this, the sooner you will find it become automatic.
- Create an environment where everyone is encouraged to be their best. Do you have a culture where people have an opportunity to enjoy the intrinsic rewards they value including, autonomy, innovation, creativity and the freedom to fail?
- Be positive in the midst of negativity. There are negative people all around. Remember, they want encouragement too. Be the change you’d like to see in them. Environmental factors, such as a slumping economy or other negative business factors can also affect the outlook of the team. You encouraging voice is needed more than ever during the down times; and
- Encourage others by providing leadership opportunities. Show others you believe in their potential by giving them the opportunity to tackle new projects, challenging assignments and to lead teams. Provide resources, including your personal support, to help them achieve success.
The impact of encouragement can be a profound, career altering, life changing experience. Invest part of you into others daily through the power of encouragement. There may be no more rewarding part of your leadership journey.