iStock_000007063105SmallEveryone needs encouragement and the best influencers are masters at it.

Have you ever had anyone count your mistakes?

I have.

In my days of competitive soccer, I had a coach who would literally yell across the field every time I made a bad pass.  He would count the number out loud for everyone to hear.  I was so nervous to make a mistake that I never wanted to pass the ball.  I would actually try to run behind defenders, so I wouldn’t get the ball passed to me. Needless to say, I felt deflated, discouraged and intimidated in this environment.

Unfortunately for this coach, he never was able to pull out my true potential.

Some leaders are not natural encouragers.

Here are a few ideas for establishing encouragement amongst your team:

    1. Cast the vision:  “We are an organization that strives to be positive and encouraging to everyone.”
    2. Hire leaders AND team members who are encouraging.
      • Team members can have great influence on their peers and customers.  What if people came to your place of business because they were encouraged every time they visited?
        • I remember hearing a story about a grocery store bagger named Johnnie.  He had Down syndrome and wondered how he could ever make a difference.  He got an idea and started writing positive sayings on a piece of paper and putting them in the bags as he worked.  Everyone loved getting a word of encouragement for the day!  The sales at the store increased because people would come and shop, just to get a note from Johnnie.  Johnnie made a huge impact in such a simple way.
    3. Be specific when encouraging.
      • Instead of saying, “Great job, Sam.”  Try saying, “Sam, you did a great job when you….”
        Encourage the BEHAVIOR you want to see repeated.
    4. Be intentional:  Say 5 encouraging things a day.
      • Penny trick:  Put 5 pennies in your left pocket.  Every time you encourage someone, put the penny in your right pocket.  By the end of the day, all 5 pennies should be in your right pocket.
    5. A smile and a pat on the back.
      • Sometimes all your team needs is for you to smile and pat them on the back.  This action can be just as encouraging as any words you use.

To quick start your encouraging juices, start with the people who show up every day and do a great job.

“Linda, I appreciate how you always show up to work on time, give your very best and treat others with respect.  Thank you for being a part of my team!”

Who can you encourage today?