5 W’s of an Encouraging Leader
by Tony Dungy
Encouragement carries more weight when it’s specific. Be observant of the people around you on the job. Where do they excel? When have you seen them give exemplary effort? Make note of the ways they stand out, and use your observations as content for encouraging them.
Everyone enjoys receiving genuine expressions of praise, especially when they’re given in public. As a leader, leverage the platforms of staff meetings and team get-togethers to highlight the performance of your people. Your words of encouragement will reinforce good behavior and communicate value and appreciation to those you lead.
Spoken encouragement is powerful, but temporal. Written words of encouragement, however, are remembered by their recipient long after the writer has forgotten them. People can refer back to an encouraging card or note again and again, being uplifted each time they read it.
When possible, leaders should reward excellent performance monetarily. However, the dollar figure attached to a reward isn’t its only measure of value. As a leader, be creative in finding ways to give gifts of encouragement that have meaning and significance to those you lead. Perhaps it’s an extra day of vacation, an extended lunch hour, or a keepsake. Whatever the case, be intentional about giving something of value as a means of applauding those who are doing a great job.
Sometimes the best way to be an encourager is to set an example. People draw strength from watching you persevere through adversity, and they are impacted when they see you make sacrifices to advance your vision. When you win by doing things the right way, your victories leave an impression on the spectators watching you.