How to be a Dr Feelgood leader - 5 ways to build others up

I've never heard anyone say, "Man, I wish that guy/girl would stop encouraging me.  I can't take them making me feel better about myself."

Photo credit to MelvinSchlubman

I have been with leaders who are natural affirmers.  In their presence you feel good about yourself and they make your work feel valuable.  I have also been around leaders who don't encourage.  Working for these people make you wonder if you're a valuable team member.  Work becomes painful, days feel like weeks, and small tasks feel like never ending chores.

So how are you as an encourager?  If you struggle with it let me help you with five ways to be encouraging.

1.  Write a personal note - Working for a non-profit has taught me the value of writing a thank you note as an encouragement.  Often, I write a notes to a donor or volunteer.  I don't write, "Thanks for your money," or "Thanks for the time." Instead, I encourage them by saying, "Thanks for being a blessing to us through using your gifts and being generous."  That's what we want as leaders, team members who know how to be generous with their gifts so I want to encourage them exercising those gifts.

2.  Team encouragement - This a fun way to change the culture of the team.  Begin every meeting with this question to your team, "Who did you catch doing things right this week?"  This does a couple of things for our team: 1. People feel affirmed by their peers, and 2, This re-casts the vision of what we are trying to accomplish.

3.  The moment - I strongly believe leaders should focus on catching people doing things right more than they try to catch people doing things wrong.  When you practice this as a leader you begin to recognize "The Moment."  As soon as you see "right" you tell that person.  If you haven't been practicing this it might catch your team by surprise the first couple of times but shortly your team will fall in love with this type of encouragement.

4.  The rooftop - Social media provides a leader with the opportunity to scream "I see you" from the rooftop of their community.  When a team member is killing it the leader can go online and praise that team member in front of 100 to 100,000 people depending on that leaders platform.  Some people will scoff at this but I still haven't seen a person reject this from of encouragement.

5.  Go nuts - Occasionally you just have to go nuts when a team member conquers a big challenge.  People get stuck.  You and I get stuck.  When we see someone else get past being stuck we should celebrate it the way we would want to be celebrated.  Scream your excitement!  Give the big gift!  Stop everyone, everywhere and announce the victory for this team member.  If you do this, people's loyalty will be over the top.

I have to remind myself that I encourage because it's good for people's heart and not because it's good for the mission.  Does the mission or vision benefit from encouraging people?  Well sure.  But the goal is to create a culture of encouraged people going for even bigger things because they know they have what it takes to make it happen.

What goes on inside you when you are encouraged?  How have you been encouraged well?  Please leave a comment below!


Is Twitter killing your leadership?

It's not what you say, it's how you say it. [youtube Hzgzim5m7oU]

If the video does not player in you reader use this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzgzim5m7oU

Leaders need to remember that one either tears down or builds up when it comes to words.  Unlike before, written words have gone mainstream, anyone can put them out there for everyone to see.  Before this time, you were either a professional writer with your own words or a professional writer quoting someone else that you gained access to and had permission from.  But not today, more than 90% of the words I look at in a day are by normal people like you and me, wanting the world to know more about them.  

So have you paused to consider the power of your words?  Leaders have to be conscious that words in places like Twitter, Facebook, or any other social network are either public encouragement or public criticism.  Leader needs to have made a decision before logging into a SN; that decision is either, "I am here to build," or "I am here to tear down."  

I hope as a leader you recognize the significant divide that exists between the two.  

What are you doing as a leader to monitor the words you use across social media channels?


I have great plans for you

As leaders, we all to often forget to do significant things for those we lead.

When was the last time you laid out a plan to wow the people you lead?  When was the last time you made people on your team feel significant through a gift, through a trip, or through your words?  

Here's what doesn't make people feel significant:

1.  Lame Gifts - If you're going to give a gift to the people you lead make sure the bar is set at "wow."  If you give an average gift they will feel like average people.  One of my biggest pete peeves is when someone wants me to be wow'd by a gift that I already paid for.  If you want me to be wow'd find the extra resources to shock me with your graciousness.

2.  Cheap Locations - If you have a trip planned to thank your team avoid motels, places they have to sleep on the floor, and worst of all, tents (unless you're a boy scout pack leader).  When choosing a location to take your team ask yourself questions like: How comfortable will they be? How much rest can they get? How much will they be surprised by amenities?  AND how good will the food be?

3.  Using generic words -  Great team members want to be a linchpin, someone indispensable to their team. Make sure you tell them how they are indispensable or have their peers say it.  How can they hear it if no one tells them?  People need to hear how they add a unique value to the team.

Doing significant things for the people you lead will help develop people who do significant things.  Don't wait for the system to work the other way around.

What's the most significant thing a leader has ever done for you?  Please leave a comment!