Thursday, 3 November 2011

Encouragement costs you nothing and could be worth everything

I don't know about you but for me, at crucial points in my life, it's always the encouragement of others that keeps me going and pushes me to the next level. What is it that spurs you on when you're thinking of taking a risk, stretching yourself and making yourself more vulnerable? What is it that stops you from maintaining the status quo? Well, for me - and perhaps many others - it is encouragement. Charles Schwab, the American industrialist said:
I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among men the greatest asset I possess. The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.
Leadership and management development courses are often good, but they can cost an arm and a leg; the thing about encouragement is that it costs you nothing and could be worth a lot to the person you're encouraging.

Here are five ways that I try and show encouragement to people:
  • Be interested: Take a genuine interest in the person and what they're doing. If you're their line manager, or they're your client, treat them as a person and not a project;
  • See the situation from the other person's perspective: Understand what makes the person you're encouraging tick, show them that you are interested in what they are interested in and that you understand their point of view and where they are coming from;
  • Give positive feedback: After someone has taken a risk or done something you value, congratulate them. Even if it wasn't them at their best, make sure in the aftermath you show appreciation for what they did well and then if necessary give more challenging feedback at a later date in the midst of praise. When giving encouragement, look the person in the eye.
  • Ask advice: One of the best ways of showing someone that you value them is to ask their advice; if they value your counsel, this is a huge motivator. This will also help you see viewpoints from their perspective on what you're doing together;
  • Be generous: If you can, show value to people by taking them for a coffee, lunch, or a drink. They'll feel appreciated, valued and wanted.
Imagine if our society was built on encouraging others; we'd be a lot more productive and live more rewarding lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment