Why encouragement matters in leadership
If you are a leader, you should never forget that everyone needs encouragement. — John Maxwell
As a young boy, he worked in a factory but had an intense desire to be a singer. When he turned 10 years old, he took his first voice lesson which procured a less than encouraging remark from his teacher, “You can’t sing. You haven’t any voice at all. Your voice sounds like a wind in the shutters.”
His mother, however, believed that he could learn to sing. She was very poor, but she hugged him and said, “My boy, I’m going to make every sacrifice to pay for your voice lessons.”
Her encouragement and sacrifice for her son proved to be invaluable. He became known as one of the world’s greatest singers. His name is Enrico Caruso.
I’m always inspired by stories like this. To think that the turning point for a world-renowned singer was the encouragement from one person who believed in him when others passed him over.
Think about your own story. Who was it who inspired and challenged you to be your best and pushed you to go further than you thought possible?
I’m thankful for teachers who helped me reclaim the confidence I need to succeed in school due to my struggle with dyslexia. Without their understanding and their encouragement to me to push through and overcome my learning challenges, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Encouragement is the secret sauce for all successful leaders. And all leaders who want to add value to those around them but are not quite sure where to start — well, this is it. There are many benefits to encouraging those around you, but here are three that stand out.
Encouragement pays immediate dividends
In any given moment, a word of encouragement is the boost a friend or colleague needs. Without your knowledge, encouragement can be a game-changer for someone who may have felt like giving up and throwing in the towel. Never underestimate the power of encouragement at the moment in which it was given. It may not seem like all that much to you at the time, but it could make all the difference in the world to the one who just received it.
Encouragement creates margins
Have you ever had those times when you just felt stuck? You were in that funk and it was like your head was in a cloud. I know I have. Many times. When I look back, I can see where it was a word of encouragement snapped me out of it. It caused me to look at my circumstances from a different perspective and try another way. Encouragement is not meant to be an isolated emotional boost of support. Encouragement stirs you to look at your at circumstances differently and find new paths to better solutions. Your word of encouragement may be all it takes for someone else to find new margins they need.
Encouragement creates a boomerang effect
There’s an old saying, “What goes around, come around,” and that is especially true with encouragement. Every leader worth his or her salt is an encouragement to those around them. It’s in a leader’s DNA. While it’s never about what you get in return, every word of encouragement you give as a leader has a boomerang effect and comes back around in positive ways in your own life. Be generous with encouragement. People around you need it now more than ever.
By our words and actions, we are either building or destroying. As a leader, let me admonish you to see the best in others, believe the best in others, and speak words of encouragement to those around you. When you do, everyone benefits.
©2020 Doug Dickerson. Read more at dougdickerson.net/.