Droughts make us long for rainy days. When the rain does come, we scrutinize it because a specific type of rain is important in ending droughts: too much too quickly washes down the street drains, and a light shower treats only the acute drought and may exacerbate pests and their carried diseases. It's only steady rain, spread out over time, that soaks the ground and nourishes the roots.
Encouragement is similar. Encouragement is essential for leaders at all levels to give. However, we don't often give it the right way.
Most team members are parched for encouragement. They work day after day, relying on positive self-talk and that good feeling they get when they realize theyíve made a difference during difficult work moments. Thatís not enough. Thatís a drought.
Leaders can go wrong with the duration and timing of encouragement. Too much in too little time (a flood of encouragement) seems insincere and suspicious, especially to the recipient of the encouragement. A sprinkle of encouragement never reaches the roots to stop the drought and could be perceived as patronizing.
Slow and consistent encouragement works wonders for people, quenching doubts and nourishing growth. This type of encouragement is hard work because it takes skill to continuously encourage the people around you, and if you have a lot of people around you, then it takes constant awareness and feedback. It's well worth it, though. Encouraged people are more self-confident, which feeds into a productive loop of quality work and more encouragement.
How do you provide ongoing encouragement to the people around you? How do you encourage or care for yourself in order to continuously give to others?