Leaders don’t just ask people to do things.
Or tell them to do things.
They help people believe they can do bigger things.
And better things.
Encouragement is a form of energy.
It opens the door from the inside.
You are releasing potential energy in another person. With that energy comes new perspective, belief, focus, and creativity.
“Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Encouragement is free.
And always available.
You don’t have to carve out time for it. The opportunities to encourage will come to you throughout your day. They come in the form of people.
No matter what else is going on or how busy you are, you can find space to offer encouragement. You have to make it your intention to weave encouragement into your language and actions.
We use the term “offer” encouragement because you can’t make courage happen in someone else. You can only create the opportunity. Every time you extend the offer you are making an impact. It may be not be realized until another time or place but it will not be lost.
Encouragement isn’t the equivalent of being positive and complimentary all the time. It is a practice of finding the right words, the right challenge or the right story that helps a person remember their strength, value, and potential and move forward.
Sometimes it’s a gentle pat on the back and sometimes it’s firm a kick in the behind. But always with the intent to build up, not tear down.
You can encourage by going first and showing the way.
On another occasion, you might provide your support in the background but let them lead the way.
Sometimes it means sitting down over a cup of coffee and just listening, nudging and helping them find their way.
It can be as simple as telling your story. Remembering the time someone encouraged you and you made it through. Then, maybe, they’ll tell someone their story, spreading the encouragement.
Paying it forward.
What if…encouragement was at the heart of your culture?
I’m just running with this but it could be pretty amazing to work in a place where the energy of encouragement was flowing through the organization. A community of encouragement.
Just a thought.
I imagine it like one of those scenes where a single candle is used to light a thousand others, one person at a time. Then, whenever your candle starts to fade, there’s someone nearby to get it going again.
There’s your encouragement.