Encouragement - Part 2

Yesterday I mentioned my view that encouragement is one of the most powerful tools in the leader's toolbox. In fact, the power of encouragement can cause some leaders to pervert it and use it as a manipulation tactic. When this happens,  it causes people to become cynical and suspect of any encouragement which actually discourages them.

In order for your encouragement to be as well-received as you intend it, it should have at least three characteristics: 

First it has to be specific. Nobody likes receiving the thank you note for a gift that simply says "Thanks for the gift. I enjoyed it a lot." Similarly, encouragement from a leader needs to be specific. Tell a person exactly what it is that you noticed, and what it was about that thing that was so significant to you. 

Second, encouragement should be spontaneous. It is one thing to send a thank you note after someone does something nice for you. Those notes are the obligation of a leader, and aren't extraordinarily encouraging. Encouragement that gets mileage is encouragement out of the blue, when someone doesn't realize you noticed or doesn't feel like their actions necessarily deserve a thank you note. 

Finally, encouragement has to be sincere. As important as it is, it should not come out of duty. This is tricky, but vital. If you lead off staff meeting "encouraging" someone, but everyone knows you don't mean it, you aren't helping anyone. People know how you really feel about them, and can generally sense your sincerety (or lack thereof) regardless of what form your encouragement takes. 

Anything you would add to the list? What was the most encouraging thing a leader ever did for you? 


The Kinley's said...

One of the most encouraging notes I ever received was from you. You sent a note to me after I stopped working with/for you. I can't remember every detail, but what stuck out the most for me was you offering the door to always be open and that if I wanted a job there again you would help me get one.

When people want you back after you left helps you feel like you we're some what special and that I just wasn't keeping the seat warm for my replacement.

Thanks for sending it and even though I love to give you a hard time I think that you are a great leader and an awesome vessel for teaching God's word in a clear and effective way. Thanks for being willing to be His writer of encouragement!