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  • Mark Shaw

Encouragement in the Workplace

Encouragement is defined as “to inspire with courage, spirit or confidence; or to stimulate by assistance or approval etc; or to promote, advance, or foster people”.

Traditionally it has been a manager’s job to “encourage the best from your staff”.

In my view, the modern workplace requires a broader understanding that builds beyond this traditional view. I believe we need an understanding that includes (a) how the manager is encouraged (b) an acknowledgement by employees that engagement is as much a business goal as something for employees and (c) a realisation that even with the best “encouragement” things still change and the promotion or advancement may not happen as planned.

In some way, I think many employees consider encouragement as an entitlement. In my view, it is not and never should be. While central to the culture of an organisation, encouragement is not just all about the employee.

Then there is the issue of what to do with that small percentage of people who fail to respond at all to “encouragement” (I call them the 2%-ers) . Generally, they are skilled and motivated people, just not aligned to the values or culture of the organisation or perhaps even its goals. Encouragement does not work for these people because they want a different encouragement that the manager and/or organisation cannot provide. Remember engagement processes must benefit both the individual and the organisation.

In conclusion, while I strongly endorse efforts that support “encouragement”, I challenge the current thinking to include more understanding of how it impacts both positively and negatively on the organisation.

Remember Engagement + Efficiency = Improved Performance.

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