The Language of Encouragement

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hands upSome of the most powerful things in life are simple.

Such is the case with encouragement.

People are more productive, more focused and more successful in a positive and supportive environment than in a negative one. And we can help create that environment by being more encouraging.

John Adair wrote, “Praise and recognition based on performance are the oxygen of the human spirit.”

I believe he is right.

Being encouraging and giving recognition is not only the right thing to do; as a leader it is our obligation and opportunity. (Tweet that.)

I believe there is a language of encouragement – a language that helps us take the good intention of being encouraging and supportive of others and makes it real. What follows is a part of that language.

Like any other language, as you use and practice it, you will become more fluent, more confident and use it more often.

Here is your first lesson.

“I believe in you.” Few words are more powerful than these. When people know that others believe in them, their self-image and self-belief rises.

“I appreciate how you did that.” Praising someone’s action will be heard and valued, and might be remembered for a very long time.

“Thank you.” It is one of the first phrases our parents want us to learn. It is more than just polite. It lets people know we noticed.

“We need you/your help.” Everyone wants to be needed. Let people know when they are.

“What do you think?” Asking someone for their input and ideas is a great way to show others that you value them.

“I know you can do it.” This is another way to show your belief in words. I bet you remember a time when someone told you that and it changed your performance level (and maybe your life).

“How can I help?” Our time is valuable. When we are willing to give it willingly to others, it is very encouraging.

“I’ll go with you.” People don’t want to be alone. When we are willing to go along, people have less fear of the unknowns of the future and feel supported by you.

“What do you need?” We all need something and when someone wants to know what that is, it is very encouraging.

“I know what you mean.” Empathy is a powerful encourager. We don’t have to allow people to wallow in a problem, but often by truly hearing their situation and empathizing, we can help them move forward.

“I trust you.” When we are trusted, we are encouraged and want to live up to/earn that trust.

“Tell me more . . .” This powerful phrase shows our interest and willingness to listen.

“You are . . .” This is the way to start a compliment – it could also start with “you look . . .”, “you give . . .”, “you make . . .” Fill in a sincere compliment following these beginnings and you have instant acknowledgment and encouragement.

All of these can be said to someone with great effect. When they are written down (especially in a handwritten note), they create an even more lasting benefit.

The added personal benefit of all of this is that as we are encouraging others, we are creating a more positive environment for ourselves too. Even though your purpose in being encouraging is completely focused on others, you win too.

Encourage someone today, tomorrow and every day.

Some of the simplest things we can do have the greatest power.