People who are motivated perform their jobs more effectively. They are more creative, flexible, and healthy. They have the energy and commitment to do what is needed today and to welcome what might be needed tomorrow.
In our sector it isn’t enough that people are committed to the mission or your organisation’s beneficiaries. If people are to persist during times of challenge, change and uncertainty, they need to feel encouraged as individuals. Everyone wants to feel that they are making a difference and that what they do is recognised and appreciated.
As motivation is so important, encouraging others is a key leadership skill. Leaders who praise achievements, small and large, and who recognise excellence will inspire people to excel. It shows that as a leader, you care about people as well as results. Encouraging starts with showing that you believe others have the capacity to excel, and then celebrating the progress that is being made. Progress is very motivating, so it is important to consistently and constantly celebrate progress, rather than waiting purely for a large goal to be achieved.
Some leaders feel uncomfortable encouraging others as they don’t want to feel like a vacuous cheerleader. Which is why it is vital for recognition to be genuine and sincere. As leaders, we need to get over any personal discomfort and understand that recognition is for others, not for us. We can’t just give recognition to others in the way we would want to receive it. Instead, we need to be creative in how we celebrate progress and personalise the recognition to the people we work with.
The number one challenge that leaders have with encouraging others is slowing down and taking the time to provide recognition. In a fast-moving world, it can be easy to get caught up in delivery. Yet it is when things are most hectic and when workload is the heaviest that people need to hear they are appreciated for all their effort. By using positive encouragement, we can nurture a positive spirit in people, and when people feel good, they’re more productive and successful. For example, we can:
Good leaders push themselves out of their comfort zones and encourage their staff in the way that their staff want to be encouraged. For example, some people feel encouraged by:
When we are busy, it is easy to forget to encourage others. Effective leaders regularly reflect what recognition has been given, and what new approaches they can use to ensure that any methods of recognition don’t become overused and unoriginal. Not everyone will love every approach and that is ok, as long as we vary how people are recognised.
It is also important to spot and plan opportunities to thank others and show how much they are appreciated. When we spend time showing we believe in our team and to celebrate their achievements, this gives others the courage and inspiration to keep driving forward and to accomplish extraordinary things.
To learn more about how to encourage others take a look at our Transformational Leadership programme.