The Anatomy of Encouragement for Leaders

Everyone needs encouragement.

Encouragement feels like someone sat beside you and grabbed an oar.

#1. Encouragement thrives with connection.

Encouragement from a distance is better than no encouragement. But the most powerful encouragement comes from people you know. If you hope to fuel people’s energy, connect.

Caution: encouragement from a distance may seem disingenuous.

#2. Encouragement remembers and respects performance.

Yesterday I received this email from Glen, “I was reading the WSJ the other day, and my heart jumped a bit when I saw the Ask Dan column.  I quickly realized it was Dan Ariely … But for whatever reason, my initial microsecond reaction was because I thought it was YOU.  The more I thought about it, I thought a column by you would be a great fit.”

Glen’s email says I believe in you.

Last Friday I received this email from Abe, “I notice how much better I am at dealing with people as a result of your coaching. It (my current mojo) feels natural enough that I don’t need to think hard about what to do, but new enough that I keep noticing that it’s different from what I used to do.

And when I think of these things, I remember my coach, my friend Dan. So, in case you’ve forgotten, you’re amazing!”

Abe’s email says I’m making a difference and we’re friends.

Seven months ago, I received this email from Bill, “Hadn’t talked in a while but wanted to thank you for the continued contribution you make to our team and to me personally.  I hear your “voice” in our day-to-day interactions and it’s awesome, and powerful, and kind.  I read your blog and it is like I get a daily phone call from you.”

Bill’s email says I’m kind.

What encourages you?

What’s the difference between challenge and encouragement?

Bonus material:

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Book)

Encouragement improves your game better than criticism, claim scientists (Telegraph)

How to be an encouraging leader (leadchange)