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How Do You Successfully Encourage Employees During ….

Anxiety. Discouragement. Feeling disconnected. Worried about the future. All are currently common experiences for hundreds of thousands of persons in the U.S.

We are told, “we’re all in this together,” “we’ll get through this,” “it will get better soon,” – all of which are true (to some degree). But almost all of us have moments when we are emotionally worn out, lose hope, and want to give up. Some of us cycle through these periods rather quickly, others linger in the dark space for a while, and some of us have difficulty climbing out of the cave.

Enter: the need for encouragement and support. Yes, we all ultimately are responsible for motivating ourselves and keeping going. But we were also designed to live in community – that’s why we are born into families, raised, nurtured, and protected. Further, we live in broader communities with friends and neighbors. We are meant to live and grow to some degree of interdependence with others – where there is a give and take in life. We cook for one another; we clean up after one another; we help provide what is needed, not only for ourselves but for those who are part of our daily lives.

At some time, each of us becomes sick or hurt. Or we become physically and emotionally tired. Or a tragic event happens in our lives that take away our resources and our ability to get what we need. Enter: the need for one another.

Appreciation and encouragement are like siblings – they look alike, sound alike, are closely related but aren’t the same, though people sometimes confuse them! In reality, appreciation and encouragement are similar in three fundamental ways. First, their overall goal is the same: to communicate support for others. Secondly, the actions used are essentially the same. That is, you can use the same action both to show appreciation and to encourage someone. Third, the following premise is true – not everyone feels appreciated or encouraged in the same waysTherefore, a word of encouragement that motivates one person to “keep going” may or may not have the same impact on another person.

Appreciation is primarily focused on the past. Appreciation is key to any relationship. Appreciating someone makes them feel good about what they do and makes a difference in their lives. It makes them feel better about themselves, urging them to go on with new vigor, strengthening your relationship. Appreciating someone makes them feel good about what they do and makes a difference in their lives. It makes them feel better about themselves, urging them to go on with new vigor.

Conversely, the focus of encouragement is on the present and future. We encourage someone to persevere through a difficult time, even though they have encountered numerous obstacles. We come alongside someone who is getting discouraged and wants to give up – and we encourage them, maybe just by stopping by and seeing how they are doing, or possibly by bringing them one of their favorite desserts, to keep going.

Remember, however, that neither appreciation nor encouragement is just words. They may include the use of words, but for some (actually, many) of us, words just don’t get it done. We need a little help, or someone stopping by to let us know that we haven’t been forgotten, or (literally) give us a pat on the back.

So, when many of us need encouragement, take the time to act in these times of challenge. Choose to take time to check in on a loved one; reach out and call or videoconference a friend; offer to do something that will lighten their load a bit. Don’t just think about it. Do something for someone, even if they don’t “look” discouraged! One of the days ahead, it will be your turn, and that “cool cup of water” of encouragement will be refreshing and energizing!


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