The practice of promoting, appreciating, or boosting the confidence of 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 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.
First of all, adopt a regular practice of looking for opportunities to recognize effort. These opportunities are all around us when we are on the lookout. In fact, looking out for exemplary effort is even better than seeking out top performance. Many behaviors, whether it’s someone staying late to finish a report, bringing coffee to an early meeting, or driving a colleague to the airport, are worthy of recognition. It cost nothing to say, “Hey, I’ve noticed you’ve been working really hard on this project. I’m impressed.”
Build Up 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.
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.