Encouragement is not just the responsibility of a human resources department. As the leader, you are the Chief Encourager in your organization. It’s your job. You have the single greatest responsibility for affirming your team members and raising team morale. Performance rises or falls on the attitude of the team. And the attitude of the team rises or falls on the team members’ feelings of worth in the organization’s function and production.

Great leaders don’t wait for the retirement party to hand out “gold watches,” they do it on a regular basis. They find ways to reward excellence. They constantly wave the “WAY TO GO!” banner. They don’t just file achievement marks in file folders; they recognize them openly and verbally. They are consistent “back-patters.”

By the way, the Christmas season is prime time for encouragement. Why not throw a REFINEMENT PARTY (as opposed to a retirement party), and hand out some “gold watches.” You may serve LEMONADE punch at the celebration, but serving some ACCOLADES will have an even better punch.

Some people seem to have the gift of discouragement. Work on your encouragement skills. It’ll give you a hand up on the competition and may push someone to do a better job. Legendary coach, Vince Lombardi, reminded us, “It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever – the one who recognizes the challenges and does something about it.”

–Stan Toler