Encouragement Is the Essence of Strong Management

Encouragement invites others to think differently about themselves, says Dan Rockwell, keeper of the Leadership Freak blog. In a post about making encouragement count, Rockwell offers these three tips:

Novices need more encouragement than experienced workers. Experts are more confident in their abilities and crave corrective feedback to help them get better. Newer workers should be comfortable learning from mistakes, but managers should be sure to emphasize missing the mark is not a matter of lack of commitment or “want to.”

Understand discouragement before rushing to encourage. “A cheerleader who doesn’t understand the game offends players. Encouragement without understanding trivializes encouragement,” Rockwell states. Do the groundwork to understand what’s behind discouragement.

Give encouragement its own legs. “It’s manipulative to use encouragement as a platform to give correction,” he states. Discouragement can be twice as impactful as encouragement, so Rockwell warns managers to avoid actions that can discourage team members. This includes doing an employee’s job for them; excluding them; discounting effort when results fall short; taking credit and giving blame; dwelling on the past. The essence of good management is in the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”


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