“How do you know if a man or woman needs encouragement? If they are breathing.”
– Truett Cathy

I’m continuing a short thread of posts concerning what’s being called “The Great Resignation.” And today I want to focus on one of the reasons I believe people are so willing and eager to change jobs – a lack of encouragement.

Tim Elmore has said, “Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul. Interaction is what polishes our character. Relationships are what give our lives meaning.” I think he’s spot on – encouragement is like oxygen to our soul. What happens when encouragement is absent? It’s like running out of oxygen – not good.

Some leaders I talk to think that encouragement is completely unnecessary.

“We pay them – that’s all the encouragement they need.”

“A steady job is encouragement enough.”

“Your encouragement should come from a job well done.”

I’m going to respectfully disagree.

I believe encouraging the members of your team is something that costs a leader practically nothing, but has benefits that are inestimable.

Encouragement is something that I’ve had to work on over the years, and I’ve watched what happens when it’s present – and when it’s not. The difference is stark. It’s a key indicator of great leadership. Dan Reiland notes, “Encouragement is 51% of leadership.” I’ve found that to be quite true.

It’s easy to criticize. Anyone can do that. But encouragement will take you MUCH farther than endless harping.

Andy Stanley has said: “What’s rewarded is repeated.” What you reward – what you encourage – will often continue and increase.

Leaders, my challenge to you is to give this a shot. Try planning ahead of time and intentionally speaking words of encouragement to your team members. See what happens. Measure the results.

Do you REALLY need to encourage others?

Only if you want your team to stick around. Only if you’re interested in high performance.

Only if you want to make a difference.


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