Don’t Starve Your Team
What natural resource are almost ALL leaders STARVING their teams of? I bet you’re hoarding it right now… and don’t even know it.
It’s simple, doesn’t cost anything, and makes everyone feel better immediately. It’s encouragement.
A habit of encouragement can supercharge your leadership and set your culture apart.
“A good director creates an environment which gives the actor the encouragement to fly.” -Kevin Bacon
I will say this as simply as I can: You’re not encouraging the people in your life enough. Research shows this, my experience confirms it, and everyone I talk to echoes it. We live in a culture that simply underestimates the importance of encouragement and, in some cases, actively discourages it. We don’t make time for it; we somehow dismiss it when we receive it; we find ways to brush it off as shallow, or we think that “the work should speak for itself.”
The fact is that we do need it. Encouragement provides us with both guidance and emotional support. It lets us know that the people who lead – and love us – appreciate that we’re on their team. It’s a way to connect and give back all at once.
“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” -Anonymous
The bad news is that we’re not doing it anywhere near enough. Research says that we could do 6-9 times more and it still wouldn’t be enough.
The good news is that it’s not hard to make a habit of it and to create a culture of encouragement at your workplace. In doing so, you can radically supercharge your personal leadership style, and you can really set your company apart as a place where people want to work.
“But people need lift, too. People don’t get moving, they don’t soar, they don’t achieve great heights, without someone buoying them up.” -Elizabeth Wein, Rose Under Fire
My guests in this week’s podcast have some great ideas about how to keep it real and about when to give, and when to withhold, encouragement.
I also share a very personal story about one of my most important writing mentors—and about how the encouraging words I shared with her ended up meaning more to me than they did to her—because it turns out that a spirit of encouragement is actually a two-way street.
“It’s not enough to recognize teams and projects. You have to recognize people.” -Drew Bordas