The practice of showing appreciation to others.
WHAT IS IT?
Encouragement is the ability to recognize and acknowledge a job well done. It can be done with a spoken word, a written note, or public recognition.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Unfortunately, many people are struggle to give encouragement or praise. Some managers think encouragement is too soft and that people will stop working as hard (the opposite is true!). Other leaders posit that people should have intrinsic motivation and derive satisfaction from within. In actuality, one of the most common reasons people change jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated by their bosses or co-workers.
Suggestions for Improvement
- Acknowledge Effort
The first way to adopt a regular practice of encouragement is to look for opportunities to offer it. They are all around us when we are on the lookout for them. And even better than recognizing performance, we should be on the lookout for exemplary effort. Whether it’s someone staying late to finish a report, bringing coffee to an early meeting, or driving a colleague to the airport, these behaviors are all worthy of recognition. It costs us nothing to say, “Hey, I’ve noticed you’ve been working really hard on this project. I’m impressed.”
- Encourage the Discouraged
Second, all of us have lives outside of work that include hills and valleys. Often, we don’t know what our co-workers are going through in their private lives. When someone seems discouraged or down, take the opportunity to ask how they are doing and offer a kind or supportive word. That might just be the thing that turns their day around, and it will establish you as a caring colleague.
- Show Appreciation
Finally, be quick to show gratitude when people have helped you. When people go out of their way to do something for us, we need to show appreciation rather than take their actions for granted. Sending handwritten thank you notes to friends, colleagues, and mentors is a great habit to develop. It will not only make you feel good that you did it, it will give them a boost as well.
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