Who wouldn't like a little more encouragement? And it's easy to encourage someone else! As a leader, you can even improve employee productivity by championing and uplifting your team.
To encourage means "to put courage into." How do you do that? How do you put courage into another person?
I think it helps to start by considering the ways you have been encouraged by others. Contemplate what has emboldened you, and then you will have some specific ideas about how to encourage those around you.
10 Tips to Encourage Others & Improve Employee Productivity
Here are 10 starter ideas so that you can begin encouraging others right away.
1. Validate what someone has said or done. Validation is easy. A simple thumbs up "like" on a Facebook post is validating to others.
2. Smile. Your smile conveys warmth and acceptance. When we accept others we communicate that we think they are okay. That simple unspoken acceptance is encouraging.
3. Offer a listening ear. One of the greatest ways we can encourage others is by simply listening to what's on their mind or what's in their heart.
4. Offer a compliment or a word of praise. Be sure it's not superficial or a small talk nicety. Make it authentic and specific.
5. Notice that someone has made a difference. Connect the dots between what they did and what difference it made. By doing so, you will be adding purpose and meaning that is encouraging.
6. Appreciate what others have done. Express your gratitude, and don't assume others know it. You can't say "thank you" too often.
7. Give others the latitude to try new things. Part of encouraging others means boosting their confidence. By trusting others with new endeavors, you are demonstrating your confidence and building theirs. That's powerful encouragement!
8. Show an interest in what others are doing. Be curious and step outside your own comfort zone into someone else's. It is tremendously encouraging to know that others genuinely are interested in what you were doing.
9. Set and communicate your expectations. Be clear about what you expect. Let others surprise you as they arise to your expectations.
10. Encourage others by acknowledging the efforts they have made. Don't wait around for the end result. Encourage those efforts along the way if you'd like to see more of them.
Encouraging others is proven to boost employee engagement. Engagement is described by the CEB as 'an emotional connection employees feel that causes them to apply additional discretionary effort.' Your encouragement leads to an emotional connection. That connection results in additional discretionary effort. The natural outcomes of additional effort are improved productivity PLUS higher levels of employee retention, customer satisfaction and profit margins. It's a domino effect, and it starts with you.
That's right. When you encourage others, you will get an extra measure of courage that uplifts your spirit, too. Encouragement is contagious, and you can be the vector.
(Editor's Note: This post was originally published September 2014 and has been recently updated. )