John Wooden said, “Be true to yourself, Help others, Make each day your masterpiece, Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible, Make friendship a fine art, Build a shelter against rainy day, Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.”
Based on the things I have heard and read about John Wooden, he was not only a great coach, but also a great encourager of people. We all need encouraging from time to time, even those of us who don’t seem to need it. I come to realize encouragement is the oxygen of the soul, and everyone needs it and they perform better when they get it. As leaders, we should always liberally hand out encouragement, because it costs little to affirm others and yet pays great dividends.
In recent weeks, as I have been recuperating, I have received much encouragement. It has lifted the vail of loneliness and help me keep my spirits up. It has given me inner strength to push myself a little harder as I continue to make improvements each day. I am a person of action and it has been difficult to sit on the sidelines and watch but it has also help me gain a better perspective about the goodness people possess within.
As leaders we need to capitalize on the power of encouragement and use these times as teachable moments for us and our followers. To begin, encouragement should be personal. We need to let others know, personally, how much we believe in them. At certain times in our work, our team must endure long hours, hard labor in extenuating circumstances which isn’t always conducive to team building. However, when we are on these tough projects, we take the time to encourage each other by sharing responsibilities, watching out for each other and making sure we all share the burden so no one of us is alone. It’s encouraging to know others care for us and it makes a difficult task a little more palatable.
Encouragement must be pointed. We as leaders must tell others what we appreciate about them. It’s easy to overlook someone who has a talent, ability or skill in a certain area. Sometimes we take them for granted because we know they can handle the job. But isn’t it nice to have someone tell us just how much they appreciate what we do and how well we perform? Of course, it is. It encourages us to do more and perform at a higher level.
Encouragement must be public. As leaders, we should encourage our followers in the group of their peers. A pat on the back, a thank you for a job well done goes a long way with building respect and trust within a group or a team. Working in a thankless environment takes the wind out our sails. We become discouraged, stagnant, or lose faith in ourselves. We begin to question our abilities and motives. However, if we are in an environment where leaders will offer praise and encouragement in the presence of others it helps to build our self-esteem, our alertness and our ability to work with others, together as a team.
Encouragement must be purposeful. As leaders we must make it a goal of ours to improve the lives of others by motivating them to reach their potential. We do this through our actions and reactions to life’s teachable moments.
As leaders we must communicate confidence and assurance. We must practice reverse gossip and applaud/affirm individuals behind their back. We need to understand leaders who show the way succeed faster than ones who simply share they way. We must lead a life of discipline and practice living at a higher standard than others. In simple terms, leaders manage goals, they create a positive and growth minded atmosphere, they choose priorities and share the activities with gifted people, and they train the team as they freely give away the credit for victories.
I encourage each of us to be personal, pointed, public and purposeful as we share our faith, offer hope, display our joy and provide unconditional love to others as we help them stretch and grow to reach their potential in life. It will make a difference and add value to others. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-6
Have a wonderful day,