Source | www.entrepreneur.com | Beth Miller
Encouragement is not praise. Done well, encouragement can lead to success for an employee — at which time praise is appropriate. You see, encouragement is the act of providing positive feedback that focuses specifically on effort and/or improvement, rather than specific outcomes. Praise is given when success has been achieved.
The ability to successfully encourage others through periods of difficult times and lack of progress is both a science and an art. There are techniques that you can use that will provide encouragement but they are only helpful if you are using your emotional intelligence during the process. Emotional intelligence includes the ability to adeptly read and respond to the emotional needs of others. Keen observation of body language, choice of words and interaction with others will be helpful in this process.
Here are seven techniques I recommend managers use to help encourage their team members:
1. Ask them what help they need.
Often times the simple question of “How can I help?” will start the process of encouraging an employee. Timing of this simple, but powerful, question is important and requires you have good observation skills. Watch and listen for changes in behavior, choice of words and body language. These can be hints that an employee is becoming discouraged and frustrated. And often all the help they need is talking through the situation and having an empathetic ear to listen to their challenges.
2. Coach them to discover choices.
When an employee gets stuck and isn’t making the progress they expect, frustration sets in. When you observe an employee frustrated, first reinforce the confidence you have in them based on previous accomplishments, skills and behaviors. Start asking them questions that will help them see how to become “unstuck.” Ask enough questions for them to develop their own options on how to become successful. A little coaching can go a long way.