A few years ago, I met the head of a successful software company at a conference in Los Angeles. His business card had his name and his title: “Chief Encouragement Officer.” This was a man who understood a lot about leadership and what it meant to become an encourager.
Studies have shown that people are naturally attracted to positive people. When we have the opportunity to encourage and speak words of affirmation and praise, we draw people into our circle of influence. Leadership is all about influence, and we earn it when people are drawn to us.
Leaders also know that being able to coach and provide correction requires earning trust and support. By accentuating the positive and encouraging people, we earn the right, as well, to identify course corrections and improvements in task and process. Leading through encouraging means that we always find the positive, we always affirm, we always bless.
Ephesians 4:29 gives us some great advice: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
All too often, we believe we need to “have the tough conversation” when actually we believe, deep down, that strong leaders need to be tough and also need to demonstrate that toughness from time to time. That isn’t true, and it isn’t helpful in leading others.
There are ways to coach and correct — by using words that are encouraging and uplifting.
Ken Behr is an executive pastor at Christ Fellowship, Palm Beach Gardens, FL.