Many people are positive, uplifting, maybe even upbeat, but do they display those qualities at work? Things go wrong, clients get upset, or our beloved technology fails us and our normally cheerful attitudes become less than positive. We are only human… however, I am making the argument that providing encouragement to co-workers, supervisors, and subordinates is more important than we think, especially during challenging moments.
My Experience (and Lack Thereof)
A few years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with some of my former graduate and undergraduate professors. These highly intelligent, capable professionals entrusted me with the important task of developing a data tracking system. The required database would have functionality to generate reports on all students and cohorts in the program. I had some run-of-the-mill computer skills at the time, but I had never worked with an Access database, much less created one. If done improperly, this system could jeopardize the school’s accreditation.
I decided to say “yes” in the moment (and Google how to do it later), while being upfront about my lack of experience. Surprisingly, my lack of familiarity with Access didn’t faze anyone. In fact, they reminded me regularly that they believed I could do it.
With their encouragement and support, I was successful. Not only did the database meet the requirements, but other schools sought to recreate the database for their programs.
While I couldn’t have done it without all the wonderful tutorials online, I think the real reason I succeeded was that the professors were so forthcoming with their encouragement. Their belief in me strengthened my belief in myself and that confidence still carries over years later.
Believing in Others
When I have a friend or colleague engaging in a new field, seeking a new job, or just trying something different, I tell them that I believe in them. (Please note, I only do this when I genuinely believe they can pull it off.) I share my feelings of confidence in their abilities openly and honestly, and provide them with support in any way I can.
Why? Because it works. Encouraging people when you genuinely believe in them contributes to their success.
Other Things We Should Say More (When They’re True)
- You put a lot of effort into that report/presentation/etc. and it paid off. I’m impressed.
- I appreciate you for (whatever you did to go the extra mile). It shows you truly care.
- I chose you for this assignment/team/etc. because of your skills in XYZ. I know you will do a great job.
Is there a time when you were encouraged and it helped you succeed? Are there other things you think people need to say more? Please share in the comments below!