Getting Smart With: Encouragement

“Private encouragement without public endorsement, is like awakening a lion only to leave it in its cage.” – Charlotte Gambill

My mentor demonstrated what specific praise and public encouragement really looks like and I’m an example of how it impacts others. Her praise and encouragement was so effective and it greatly impacted the success of my career. Learning this skill by her example has proven invaluable to me and to the teams I continue to lead. Specific encouragement shows genuine appreciation and acknowledgment for what someone has achieved. It says to them, “I see you.” In turn, they feel valuable, known and will continue to strive toward excellence.

Specific encouragement has an immense impact on our teams and is vital for increasing performance, morale and generating a higher level of “buy in.” If you are a leader that is emotionally intelligent and engaged, it should take just a few extra moments to think through the positive accomplishments of an individual and externalize it. If you are still developing these skills as a leader, a time of self-reflection may be helpful. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

How can I be more engaged with my team members/leaders?

Can I list three positive things each of my team members/leaders are doing?

What would specific encouragement do for those around me?

Has anybody ever told you how amazing you are in private and then overlooked that same gift they said you had in public? It makes you question the authenticity behind the praise and if they really meant what they said. It can make you feel that even though they see these great things in you, they actually do not believe it. You feel that they were just offering “lip service,” or saying it to butter you up – – not because you actually have something to offer. Do not be discouraged or stunted by this. This happens many times in fear-based, insecure leadership. Leaders who are insecure are oftentimes inhibited to point out another’s brilliance. This can reflect poorly upon leadership and will dampen team morale… No leader wants that! What we want is to be proactive leaders who are confident and lift up others.

“We need to be careful not to tease out each other’s talent only to later shut it down as if it’s now our competition.” – Charlotte Gambill

Growing our team into the leaders they’re called to be should never be a threat to us. If we privately encourage and publicly endorse our team, it will instill confidence and worth and motivate them to strive for greatness. When our leaders are growing their teams, working autonomously, developing their gifts and moving into higher positions of leadership, it reflects well upon our own leadership.

“Let’s not awaken the lion of potential privately in others, then cage that same lion’s roar publicly.” – Charlotte Gambill

Great teams are built where there is enough room for everyone to feel loved, valued, and affirmed, each knowing their contribution can make a difference. Church Relevance researched the most notable churches in the U.S. They were measured on; innovation, number of attendees, number of generated church plants, influence and the speed of growth. Being a church that possesses these attributes makes them “notable” and sought after in our country. Why? These churches are growing in one form or another, which reflects healthy leadership, healthy people and healthy structures.

When we are shaping and cultivating leaders, it is important to be consistent, speak encouragement, set them up to win, affirm them, and make room for them to flourish. Leadership – in every area of life – requires not just private praise, but public action and affirmation.

Go Digging!

Who can you publicly endorse today?

What could you change about how you encourage others?

Do you get the encouragement and support you need from your leaders? Why or why not?

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