074 How to create a culture of encouragement

Are you getting the encouragement you’d like to have at work? If not, maybe you can make the difference to create a culture of encouragement.


This week’s Inspire Me quote:

“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.”—William Arthur Ward

We can all use some encouragement, right? Leaders know everyone performs better with encouragement. But what if you could reinvent the culture of the organization in which you work to make it more encouraging? What might that look like?

You don’t need to be the top person to change the culture. In fact, it’s probably easier to make a transformation change when you aren’t. Others expect the leader to be encouraging. They may not expect it from their peers.

Start by considering what encourages you. You’ll find it’s not just about words; that’s flattery. Encouragement has to resonate with the other to be truly effective. It can do so in three ways:

  1. Resonates in experience. The encourager relates how the experience they witnessed in another affects them. This makes it genuine. Be specific.
  2. Resonates in mood. The words or actions are in tune with the moods, emotional needs of the other. Match their mood. Be empathetic.
  3. Resonates in values and purposes. What was the most encouraging thing some has said to you? Those things that align with your values and purposes are most likely to encourage you. To deeply encourage another, consider what their purposes and values are and speak into them.

To create a culture of encouragement where you work:

  1. Start with one. Mother Theresa once said, “If you can feed a hundred, feed one.” Find one person you can become more aware of, sensitized to. Find something to praise (It won’t take long). Or keep a lookout for a loss/failure. Or how they response to a critical remark made by another.
  2. Consider what kind of encouragement can be helpful to them. Encouragement comes in many forms: words (spoken, written), celebrations, gifts, extending social connections, etc.
  3. When encouraging someone after a failure, consider their degree of competence. Those who failed in an area of their expertise need specific feedback on how to improve. The need diagnostic help. Those who are starting out in an area need specific feedback on what they’ve done well. Their primary need is to develop confidence. In both cases, researchers have shown that when we give feedback, the more it focuses on the person, the less effective it is. Our ego defends failure and seeks to justify through external causes.

A special case is when you seek to encourage your boss. It takes a different approach than your peers. Episode 66, How to inspire better leadership from your bossdiscusses some ideas on how to do that.

This week’s Challenge Me:

Resolve to be the change in your company culture. Consider someone who could use encouragement from you this week–and do it. Report back here on our show notes at www.reinventure.me/74 and let us know how it goes.

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4 thoughts on “074 How to create a culture of encouragement

  1. Really fun to listen to today’s podcast on encouragement. The timing of it for me was really good also and it’s always fun to hear the two of you laugh and tease each other. I love it! Keep the podcasts coming. ?

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