As she was leaving the house this morning I was encouraging her to push herself as much as she had done yesterday so that she can do as well. She left the house quite stressed yesterday, as it was the start of her three day Art exam. However, she was very pleased with herself when she came back home, as she managed to complete much more than she had thought she might have done.
Just as she was about to step out of the door she turned around and said to me “I’m glad that someone appreciates the hard work and effort I’m putting into my exams.” I responded that “I was sure many people do.” To which she retorted that she did not think her teachers did.
I could see the frustration on her face. I told her that I was sure that her teachers knew just how hard she had been working and that they were pushing her and the other students, because they knew that she (and they) had the ability to even better than she had already done and that they just wanted her to achieve the highest scores possible at this important time. I was sure her teachers were confident in her even though they did not say it.
I could see her giving this some thought as I kissed her goodbye and she went off on her way in a happier frame of mind.
This two minute exchange, if it was that long, made me think about the change just a few encouraging words could make to our day.
As managers and leaders, we can be so focused on achieving the next thing, that we forget the people we need to work with in order to make that ‘next thing’ happen.
At times we forget about them as a result of being so confident in their abilities and skills. We know that they have the capabilities to make it happen, to do a great job and as a result we an almost take this all for granted. Or worse, we can just expect them to do their best, because we’re paying them to do so.
However, it helps for us and our business if we take the time to remember that we are working with people, individuals and not robots.
People need the oil of encouragement, just like machinery does in order for it to keep working well.
A few drops of the oil of encouragement, in the right place at the right time can be all it takes to make an individual or a team move from the ordinary into the realm of the extra ordinary to help us develop and deliver a ‘wow’ product or service to our customers.
Encouragement should be based on evidence, actual achievement, ability and performance or it will be wasted and devalued.
Motivation has a longer lasting power than that of money, although the latter is always beneficial. The difference is that encouragement and motivation impact on the emotional state of an individual, which in turn creates an experience.
Feeling (emotion) is an experience and this (the experience of how you’ve made a person feel) is what will be remembered and will encourage the recipient to strive for more of the same, because we all want to experience that same positive gift again and again.
So a little encouragement goes a long way.
How can you encourage your team today? How can you best recognise their contribution, their skills and their efforts to make your business what you want it to be?
Sandra Pollock, Director Open Mind