Leadership Super Power #2
When the conference call with my colleague in Africa ended, I was shocked. Despite being late at night, my energy levels were sky high, and I was dreaming bigger than I had in months. I’ve had this feeling before. Often when I speak with my mentor, or other extremely talented leaders, I leave the conversation feeling amazing and ready to take on the world. I wondered, “What are these people doing that are making me feel great and perform at my highest level?”
Every now and then I learn a technique that is so successful and influential that using it feels like having super powers. I have already discussed another leadership super power, the magic of high expectations here, and recently uncovered a new one.
Most people focus on their imperfections, shortcomings, and stresses. Naturally, this leads to exhaustion, a low self-image, and a sense of inadequacy, all of which seriously inhibit individual and team performance. This super power redirects this negative and prohibiting focus and replaces it with positive momentum and energy.
To be honest, I’m afraid the you’re going to dismiss this technique because it seems overly simple. Please don’t dismiss this. Try it a few times and watch the magic.
The leadership super power that can transform lives, teams, and even communities is: encouragement.
Encouragement helps people access their own power by focusing them on their potential. As a leader, one of the most powerful things you can do is shift people’s attention away from what is wrong (most people’s natural focus) to what can be right (the focus that comes with encouragement).
There are two ways to harness the power of encouragement. The first is to encourage other people to help them reach their potential. The second, more subtle use of encouragement is to use it on yourself by creating an environment where you are frequently feeling encouraged so that you may reach your full potential. Below are strategies for both.
3 tips for using the super power on others:
1) Be totally sincere in your appreciation. If you admire or appreciate someone, let them know, and when you do let them know, tell them that you think they can do incredible things. For example, “Jenna, I really love that fundraiser you just started. I mean, seeing your dedication and passion is truly inspiring. I really think you can change a lot of lives for the better with your work.”
Saying things like this makes other people feel capable and keeps them energized.
2) Figure out what the other person is really trying to do and let them know that you believe they can do it.
“So why are you writing this manuscript?”
“I’ve always felt the desire to become an author and I know that if I ever want to do that, I’ve got to start somewhere…”
“That’s really great. I can totally see you getting published and developing a cult following. You’ve definitely got the potential – I’m glad to see that you’ve begun activating it and am confident that if you stick with it, you’ll write great books!”
3) Point out specific reasons why the person is capable of achieving their vision.
“So you’re going to travel the world and volunteer along the way?”
“Well, I want to, but I don’t know if this is actually something I can do.”
“Really? To me this is something you can clearly do. You do more volunteer work than most people I know, and you love to travel. Besides, this is the perfect time in your life for an adventure. To me, the surprising thing would be if you don’t do this because it’s so perfectly you.”
By using the strategies above, you’ll be able to speed up the success of your friends, family, and teams.
2 tips to harness the super power for yourself
Encouragement is a powerful tool for helping individuals and teams to perform at their highest level, but its greatest potential is the potential to change your life.
How can you use encouragement to change your life?
1) Surround yourself with encouraging people. The goal is to spend as much time as possible with people who believe in you, while minimizing your exposure to people who don’t. The friends who support you, spend more time with them. The acquaintances who don’t, avoid them.
2) Be honest and vulnerable with the people in your circle. As you spend more time with encouraging people who believe in you, get in the habit of being honest and vulnerable around them. Over the course of weeks, months, and years, your circle will expand to be filled with people who help you flourish. Be sure that you are encouraging them too, and you’ll notice that you’re all achieving greater levels of success than any of you could reach on your own.
Unfortunately, most of us – myself included – have been wired to focus on what is wrong, instead of the amazing things we are capable of creating. By using the power of encouragement we can lead ourselves and others to unheard of heights.