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Senior Correspondent

Leaders who lift get further than those who push down. Performace improves when people feel encouraged and declines when they’re discouraged or hopeless. 

You don’t have to beat up high-performers; they do it to themselves. Lift them instead. 

All successful leaders encourage; they fill people with hope. The added responsibility of encouraging others may discourage you, especially if you aren’t good at it. 

10 Ways to Encourage Others 

1. Encourage in private. The more people are involved, the more likely they’ll feel a need to posture and protect. 
2. Agree with their feelings. Never minimize or correct. “Oh, it’s not that bad,” is demeaning, not encouraging.
3. Break obstacles and challenges into bite-size pieces. 
4. Use questions. “Do you think you can deliver your report this afternoon?” Progress encourages.
5. Remove a weight or responsibility, temporarily. Warning: some discouraged people need a new challenge. 
6. Explain their value. “You’re the best (fill in the blank) we have.” 
7. Get on their level. Avoid speaking as a superior. 
8. Encourage rest. “Why don’t you take a couple days off?” Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” 
9. Let them talk. 
10. Can you name one? 

Our Facebook contributors say leaders who encourage …

1. Give people challenging assignments and check them periodically.
2. Lead by example and practice what you preach.
3. Communicate clearly and follow through.
4. Recognize and reward progress.

Have you argued with a discouraged person by attempting to change their feelings? It’s futile. Confrontation closes discouraged people down.

Accepting people as they are — even if you must challenge negative behaviors — allows them to open the door to your encouragements. 

How to prevent discouragement in the first place?

Deal with discouragement before it happens by being a positive leader.

1. Spend more time affirming and less time correcting.
2. Give public acknowledgement, gratitude, and praise.
3. Be available.

What techniques help you encourage discouraged people?

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