In a world full of challenges and uncertainties, the power of encouragement cannot be overstated. As a people leader, one of your roles is to nurture a positive work environment where your employees can thrive. There’s no better time to start then on National Day of Encouragement which is celebrated every year on September 12! Come along for the ride as we explore practical ways to encourage your employees in a way that will have a lasting impact on their performance and wellbeing.
1. Acknowledge and Appreciate
A simple (yet powerful) way to encourage your employees is by acknowledging their efforts and expressing genuine appreciation. Take the time to recognize their hard work and accomplishments, both big and small. Whether it’s a heartfelt thank-you note, a public shout-out during a team meeting, or a simple “great job” in passing, these gestures can go a long way in boosting morale and motivation.
Example: One of your direct reports has been consistently meeting her targets. Send her a personalized eCard commending her dedication. Highlight how her work specifically has a positive impact on the team’s success.
2. Provide Constructive Feedback
Encouragement doesn’t always mean praise. It also involves offering constructive feedback that helps employees grow. When providing feedback, focus on specific actions and results rather than general criticisms. Encourage a growth mindset by framing feedback as an opportunity for development rather than negative news.
Example: An employee recently made a presentation that could have been more engaging. Don’t say “Your presentation was boring.” Instead, say something like “I noticed that the audience’s engagement level dipped during your presentation. Let’s work together to incorporate more interactive elements next time to keep them engaged.”
3. Set Clear Expectations and Goals
Employees can be at their best when they clearly understand what is expected of them. Each team member should have clear goals to work towards. As a leader, your role is to set expectations and goals that make sense for each individual’s skills and aspirations. Check in frequently beyond annual reviews to ensure alignment and progress.
Example: One team member is passionate about project management. Sit down with them to discuss their career goals and align them with the team’s needs. Set clear expectations and help that team member envision their future career path.
4. Foster a Supportive Environment
Creating a culture of continuous support is vital for encouraging employees. Embrace open communication, promote teamwork, and make sure your team feels their voices are heard. When employees feel like they belong and are supported, they are more likely to excel in their roles.
Example: Implement regular one-on-one check-ins with your team members to provide a space for open discussions. Ask about their concerns, career aspirations, and any challenges they may be facing. Actively listening and addressing their needs makes people feel truly supported.
5. Invest in Learning & Development
Encouragement can also take the form of investing in your employees’ development. People love to learn and grow and you can help them do just that by providing opportunities for training, mentorship, and skill-building. When employees see that you are invested in their success, they are more likely to stay motivated and engaged.
Example: Identify employees interested in advancing their skills in areas such as leadership or technical expertise. Offer to enroll them in relevant courses or connect them with experienced mentors in or outside the organization.
As a people leader, encouraging and empowering your employees is paramount to your team’s success and wellbeing. Implement the above practices to create a workplace where your employees feel motivated, valued, and inspired to excel. So, on this National Day of Encouragement, take a moment to reflect on your leadership practices and commit to making a difference in the lives of your team members.