Through time, encouragement has often been the difference between success and failure and hope and hopelessness. As we enter another season of mud-slinging ad campaign, I think we could all use a little encouragement, don’t you?
Encouragement: giving hope or promise; to inspire with courage, spirit and hope (Merriam-Webster). Many songs, books and ad slogans have been created to uplift and inspire people: Just Do It, Hang in There, Lean on Me…to name a few. The amazing thing about encouragement is that the littlest of positive words or small deeds can have such a huge impact. Far too often, though, we underestimate the power of encouragement and the difference it can make for others, especially in the busy world we live in. We think “Who are we? What do I have to offer? I’m just too busy.” You might be discouraged, which is even more reason to encouragement someone else…you get it and understand.
As leaders, we should be striving to create cultures that are positive and supportive, both of which will cultivate creativity, team cohesiveness, productivity, and successful endeavors. We throw around the term emotional intelligence (EQ), but do we actually apply it with our teams? EQ defined simply means “the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the acumen of emotions to facilitate higher levels of collaborations and productivity” (TTI).
The beauty of encouragement is that whatever energy or effort we do give, we will be given back tenfold! Don’t believe me? Just give it a try. Giving, being thoughtful, offering consideration to other’s feelings, and being kind are contagious – meaning, when one person receives it, they typically want to extend the same courtesy to someone else. Kindness and encouragement become a “pass it on” or “pay it forward” mentality. Who wouldn’t want this kind of culture?
When leaders take the time to get to know their employees, they can tailor their rewards and recognition to the individual because one-size-fits-all does not work. This combines EQ and human behavior and is a formula for happier, more fulfilled employees, healthier teams, and a thriving culture.
For this to work, we must first be gentle with ourselves. We cannot give away what we don’t have. Self-love is not selfish but a necessity, and we must not forget our family and closest friends – those who, at time of need, can be the wind beneath our wings. As we support, encourage, and give to our workplace, we must not stop there. Think of those in your neighborhood and community who might need a kind word. One person at a time, we can give acts of kindness, and that is how we change the world.
Thinking isn’t the same thing as taking action. We all have good intentions, but by putting some of those thoughts into action, we can offer hope, promise and inspire someone (maybe even ourselves) today. Consider not only your workplace but your family, friends, and community.
Here are some ways you could be a force for good today:
- Take a discouraged co-worked out to lunch (your treat)
- Listen – really listen – to someone who is upset
- Place a single rose on the windshield of an elderly friend
- Bake cookies for your neighbors
- Buy a funny movie, bring popcorn and visit a shut in
- Walk with a co-worker who is under a lot of pressure
- Send a snail-mail card “just because” or “thinking of you”
- Offer to baby sit for exhausted friends who need a date night
- Make a romantic evening with candles and music for your spouse
- Help a co-worker out with a big project without being asked
- Write a poem or special message for a friend’s birthday
- Mentor someone younger than you
- Put together a photo collage of a great trip for a family member
- Create a personalized calendar with all the special dates highlighted for someone special
- Send a care package to a member of the military
- Volunteer…anywhere they need you!
- Call just to say “hi”
- Buy a stranger a cup of coffee
- Offer a Kind bar and bottle of water to someone on the streets
These are only a few examples. I am sure you can (and have) come up with many more. Want this to be a great year? Want your employees to love their jobs? Want to feel uplifted? Want to feel more energized? Give some encouragement; you won’t regret it.
Interested in learning about assessment tools and coaching that will help cultivate a positive culture? Give me a call (623) 582-1578 or contact me here.