How To Incorporate Encouragement Into Your Leadership
How To Incorporate Encouragement Into Your Leadership
Are you feeling overwhelmed, overcome, overdrawn or overloaded? What about those you lead? Could they also feel like saying, “Stick a fork in me---I’m done.”?
Strife is everywhere; as leaders we feel it, and those we influence are also shaking under strife’s weight. We are all hungry for encouragement.
But what is encouragement and where do you find it?
Encouragement is so much more than “rah-rah” or a pat on the back. Consider the word that’s found inside “encouragement”.
Encouragement is offering “courage” to the overwhelmed, overcome, overdrawn and overloaded. As leaders, we need to model this encouragement principle. Often.
A drop of encouragement during a time of trial is worth more than a bucket of praise after success.
How do you DO encouragement?
Consider our model of leadership – Jesus. We continue to cling to His encouragement:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
There are five key ingredients to actively encouraging others:
The first ingredient in encouragement is hope – hope for the future. Jesus talked about the future where His disciples would be with Him and His Father.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3
When you speak about the future to those you influence, introduce it all with a Godly hope.
Of course, not every part of the journey will be positive, however all things work together for good, for those who love the Lord and are called for His purpose. (Romans 8:28) That’s a promise filled with encouragement, isn’t it?
Encourage those you influence with your strength of faith in God and all He is and does. Jesus consistently referred to how amazing His Father was (and is).
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” Mark 10:18
Adding courage to those you influence is easy when detailing how amazing our God is. Encourage with your deep and wide faith in God’s omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence.
How is your relationship with your Heavenly Father? Do you spend time in prayer and solitude? You can encourage others with the ingredient of FAITH only if you, yourself, have a deep and abiding connection with the One who has authored all our lives, and knows every hair on our head. Encourage each other with your faith. (Romans 1:12)
Ah, love. We all need to be loved. (And not that Hollywood-styled, romantic, mushy love.) It’s the Godly love which Jesus exemplified; love that is given without prerequisite or condition.
What difficulties, danger and pain we can all face, when we are secure in knowing we’re loved. Yes. It is possible to encourage those we influence by loving them. It’s the second part of Jesus’ response to the Pharisees:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:39
Encourage with a Godly love – no prerequisites or conditions.
If you need a refresher on the aspects of this Godly love, dwell on 1Corinthians 13:4-9. Patience, kindness, humility, perseverance, and so much more is a part of encouraging with love. What aspects of a Godly love do those you lead truly need – right now – to feel encouraged?
The fourth ingredient of encouragement is prayer. Our role-model, Jesus, put communication with His Father as a priority.
We imagine that Jesus’ disciples had no doubt that Jesus prayed for them. The 17th chapter of John, has a beautiful example of Jesus’ conversation on behalf of those he led. (That includes us, too!)
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23
Pray for and with those you influence to encourage them as they move through every difficulty.
Perhaps it’s not always appropriate to pray with those you lead. Our society isn’t always open to prayer in secular circles. However, we can always pray for them.
How have you set aside time to pray for those you lead? Most times you can’t change circumstances, but a sense of courage can be instilled in those you lead, if they know that the One who created everything is being asked to make all things new. (2Corinthians 5:17)
The last ingredient of encouragement is action. It’s the extra pair of hands, or brain, or unobtrusive, quiet contribution to the work. Encouragement through action takes no credit, or limelight. It’s often unseen, and always unsung. As an example, Jesus tried to do things without fan-fare.
Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:4
Take action to encourage but don’t tell anyone.
Here’s where you can practice humility; pride has no place in encouragement. (Philippians 2:1-4)
The “Do-ing” Habits
Encouragement is one of the “Doing Habits”. (There are five: Grace, Forgiveness, Encouragement, Community all incorporated in obeying and expressing God’s love.) When your heart is changed, and your habits support leading like Jesus, encouragement becomes an integral part of how you lead.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1Thessalonians 5:11
Stop a moment and consider: Who, specifically, needs to be encouraged today? Which ingredient of encouragement will you use?
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