In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back…

A successful executive is under more pressure than ever before to perform, and every sector is grappling with disruption – from shifts in customer behavior, to new competitors and changing regulation – not to mention the need to blend a personal life somewhere in between all other distractions clamoring for time. Having to engage in negative, neutral or stressed situations take a tremendous amount of energy, drive and commitment. Eventually, these stressors take their toll regardless if the results are favorable or not. Who’s encouraging you? Who needs your encouragement?

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis

Everyone needs encouragement. From the playpen to the Board room. It’s what we do or say to our children, our spouse and our people to stimulate and support them, give them confidence or hope. We all need it! When you’re encouraged, you’re imparted with courage – a resolute spirit to endure regardless of circumstance. Encouragement is a dimension we wholeheartedly believe in.  This is far more than “blowing smoke” in you for a temporary result until the next crisis rears its ugly head. The focus is on both the inside state and external behaviors. If we are to deliver results and preserve relationships, then we need to work on both together.

Many executives lack the right focus, mindset, beliefs, and attitude to effectively mobilize people. They have the skills, but lack the right orientation and state of being. Therefore, they fail to engage their colleagues and gain their commitment through authentic and powerful communications. they sometimes miss the mark in influencing their people with broad brush strokes; when influencing can only occur one person at a time. Or, they need to develop better judgment to make more effective decisions that takes the organization where it needs to go.

“I’ve got your back even if you don’t have mine. I have yours until I’ve earned the right for you to have mine.”

Others have the right mindset and “inner game,” but lack the raw skills to get the results they want. They never studied appropriate influence, motivation, negotiation, and other conversations. We can rehearse even role play the appropriate types of conversations to have for a given situation. Either way, we’re going to encourage you – inside out and outside in.

Encouragement inherently involves accountability—and not just for the one being encouraged. The encourager is accountable, too. You’ve heard it before – Praise works better than criticism, or Make regular deposits into an emotional bank account. While true, there’s no meat on the bone and many are left wallowing in the valley of their roller-coaster existence. What do you think will happen if you don’t change anything?

To be encouraging, you must believe two things to be true:

  1. The person may not be doing their very best or trying hard enough, which is probably not something the person wants to hear; and 
  2. If the person committed to do their best, he or she could do great things, which is good.

The key to encouragement is to deliver the news, which doesn’t have to come across as bad or negative, in a way that doesn’t force the person to dwell on inadequacies. We’re not going to offer up a poop sandwich and we’re not going to pat you on the head and make it all better either. Here’s an encouraging strategy to offer the next time you’re giving feedback:

Chuck, I’m proud of the improvements you’ve made over the past several weeks. Let’s take that same effort and energy with developing Lucy and Linus and you’re group will become even better.

Encourage others by seeking improvement with a “Yes, and” strategy focused on improving the environment, behaviors, productivity and/or results. Be committed! An Elegant Leader with Voltage says, “I’ve got your back even if you don’t have mine. I have yours until I’ve earned the right for you to have mine.” An Elegant Leader is one who will Stand In The Gap and Fight For Your Commitment and Potential…even when you feel you can’t. We are encouraging you to be that stake in the ground for for your people. If you need a partner to link arms when, not if “it” hits the fan for whatever you want to be or to do. Do not waver, because you are their potential and commitment just like we are yours. You are their most ambitious, noble and inspiring goals, and it’s up to you to challenge and to uncover their very best!

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