No one has ever said, “Please stop encouraging me in my job.”
It’s always a great idea to encourage other’s in the workplace no matter what your level is in an organization. The ability to encourage others will serve you well throughout your career and can easily be a way for you to stand out against the crowd.
Here are five tips to strengthen how you encourage others at work.
1. Model the behavior/be happy yourself
You first have to demonstrate the attitude and behaviors that you want others to model before you move through any of the following steps. If you aren’t happy or come across as standoffish or always upset then your team will not be encouraged. Is this an area of struggle for you? You can hear more about it on Passing the Baton Leadership Podcast #13: Leader’s don’t have bad days.
Showing happiness and joy is a cycle. The more you show and do, the more you will find around you.
2. Encourage friendships at work
I’ve always found that my teams were the strongest when they had relationships with each other outside of my influence. They would go hang out together after work and became a part of each other’s lives. I know that this topic makes some leaders (particularly those that have been around a while) uneasy. Several generations of leaders were brought up that you didn’t mix business with personal at all and they put up very hard lines between the two.
Our newer generations of leaders don’t operate the same way. They appreciate it when others have at least some knowledge of their personal lives. I’m not recommending that you get in the drama of everyone’s lives, but at least have an interest in people’s every day lives outside of the workplace. What do they enjoy? What are their hobbies? What are they working on or towards? Any major life events coming up?
3. Help them understand the meaning and value in their work
Encourage others by helping the person see the value and impact of their work. The rise of internet retail has brought many new jobs in that sector, but many of those workers are discouraged and unhappy because they don’t see the value in shipping products from a warehouse alongside robots day in and day out.
Connect what they do to the bigger picture. Share stories of how their contribution impacted someone’s life. Take them to see the impact if possible. Being able to see the impact that you have on an organization, the country and world is very encouraging and rewarding.
4. Make time for your people
Just spending time with someone can be an encouragement as long as you are following tip #1. People know that you are busy and they appreciate you taking some time to spend with them. That could be working on a project together, going to lunch together, or just spending some time together between meetings or classes. Be sure not to skip on the small talk. It will help solidify tip #2 when you show that you care about someones personal life as well.
5. Show appreciation
When you see great behavior or a job well done, recognize it immediately. Recognizing others on a regular basis does not lessen the value of praise. The opposite is actually true. The more you recognize, the more you build someone’s confidence, enthusiasm and willingness to keep pushing for excellence. If someone does something really over the top, it’s ok to recognize the moment and then come back later with a bigger thanks or reward. Just because you said thank you once, doesn’t mean that you can’t do it again.
Encourage your fellow workers. They need it no matter how great the culture of your team is.
Mentoring consistently came up this year. It’s a subject that resonates at nearly all levels of life. We talked to college students about it and it was the most common thing that talent executives asked for at a conference that we recently attended. We did a two-part series on this one.
Our servant leadership series hit home for many people. It’s a term that is becoming more commonplace in companies with a great culture. We spent time explaining what it is and how to apply it in your life.
Overcoming obstacles and adversity was a common thread this year. Zack talks on the show this week about where he gets all the ideas for PTB content creation. Some come from you as you send in questions. Some come from preplanned series and topics that people are currently talking about. He reveals that there are also topics that he writes either about himself or as a reminder to himself as he goes through his own leadership walk. John makes it clear on the show: The PTB team is not above anyone else and we are all on a journey together.
We heard the most feedback from these types of shows as they resonated on a personal level.
Know that if you are going through tough and challenging times that you are not alone. We hope some of these topics help equip you to successfully weather the storm.
We do have more guests planned for this next year. We won’t be changing the format to strictly a guest type show but we will introduce them when it makes sense and we feel like they add value to you.
The potential for more video content is there if it is something that you’d like to see more of. Let us know and we will work on those.
Episode 200 is fast approaching! Zack has written around the show and is looking at what would be a fun celebratory show.
Zack will be continuing to do speaking engagements into 2020. Both Zack and John will continue to offer mentoring and consulting for individuals and companies. Reach out to us and we will cater something specific to your needs.
Finally, Zack has been working on something for what he says is a long time. What that is, we have no clue! He says this is the year, so stay tuned.
Again, thanks for your support. We would love to hear how you have grown this year. You can reach out to us at
This week we have the pleasure of visiting with Diana Wu David. She is a TEDx speaker and author of the book Future Proof. Her company, Sarana Labs, invests in young people and companies to prepare them for a bright future. Diana shares her thoughts with us on our newest podcast and as a guest on our blog. Enjoy! -ZH
There’s been a lot of discussions lately about what work will look like in an age of globalization and automation. I think we’ll see people coming together, collaborating on joint experiments, and solving important problems.
So what does a future-proof life look like?
A future-proof life is one that has considered how to mitigate the risk of accelerating change and disruption by being prepared mentally, professionally, and financially. It is a life with a broad enough definition of success to honor the experiences, relationships, and opportunities you’ve achieved, not just milestones of achievement externally defined.
It is always adapting and proactively seeking the next learning opportunity aligned with values and focus. Honoring yourself in more varied and creative ways contributes far more to your ultimate success.
When I think about redefining success, I reflect on a corporate lawyer friend of mine, Jennifer: she didn’t love every aspect of her job but thought a lot about her values and desire to help people. By doing so, she expanded into a role in thought leadership. This helped her win the top employment lawyer award in Asia, which she might not have been able to do without taking a close look at her passions. She followed her curiosity to a natural place where she leveraged her experience into something new, challenging, and exciting.
Likewise, Lale Kesebi launched her strategy lab, human-at.work, to broaden what she did for one organization to other companies trying to build great businesses for humans.
Both redefined success, beyond just clocking in and out every day, to reach further and be more ambitious about living their own visions of success.
An Action Plan for Success
It’s not easy to break from enduring habits, belief systems, and past prestige to explore and find new ways to grow personally and professionally. The greatest resistance we sometimes meet is ourselves. Yet we owe it to ourselves to create alternate opportunities and plunge in bravely past our own resistance to set a new course to new ideas of success and significance.
Success can be broadly defined. A rigid definition exposes you to the risk of not realizing that the winds are shifting, and you might not be ready. The company you work for may no longer be around in the coming years, or the industry might be dramatically disrupted. With self-awareness and courage to act, you can prepare for those kinds of events and capitalize on the lack of structure to create one that best serves you.
Don’t wait for success to come to you and don’t think that once you have it, it’s there forever. Think about where you are today, where your work is heading, and take calculated risks to get where you want to be. Many people reading this article are already in that frame of mind or they’re nervous and not exactly sure how to move forward.
Yet they have a lot of career capital and can become leaders in the new economy. To maximize your potential, it’s vital to think, reflect, and shift your perspective. Many of us are already leaders of some sort, which makes us even more responsible to think and reimagine the future of work for ourselves and others. Get out there and challenge your ideas. Craft your own life and role model the possibilities of the future. It’s time to act.
One of the common issues I see leaders face is that they identify too strongly with one aspect of their lives and ignore the other parts. It can be easy to fall into this trap because it typically starts out innocently enough as you pursue something that you enjoy or that is important to you. In the pursuit of more, we let other parts of our lives go neglected. We then begin to put all of our identity and worth into only a single aspect of our lives and we begin to lose that sense of fulfillment.
Think of your life holistically
Think of your life as a bookshelf. On that shelf are different books that represent who you are. It may include things like parent, job, spouse, friend, runner (or other hobbies), 2nd hobby, student, church, professional group etc. People begin to feel the pressure as the single book (let’s say work) begins to push more and more against the other books of your life. You put all your worth and identity into work and you begin feeling depressed because you know it is impacting your home life, but at the same time, you feel like your job is who you are.
Your life is more than just the one “book” and each book needs its own time and attention in order for you to have a healthy balance and a true sense of identity.
Where do I find more space?
Your shelf is time and we all have the same amount. Some people think of their shelves in terms of a day week or month. There are two ways to gain space for your “books”.
Great time management: If you have really strong time management skills, you can usually find some space on your shelf. The good news for those struggling and don’t practice time management is that you likely have a large amount of space that can be freed up if you begin to utilize this skill.
Reduce the page counts in other books: So you have no other space. You’ll need to reduce the page counts in one or more other books. This is exactly what I did with my running this year. I went from doing 26 races a year down to just a handful. The space it provided gave me a chance to work on a project that had been on my to-do list for two years, spend more time with family and do more film work. I’m still a runner, it just doesn’t dominate my life as it did before.
Do your best to only have one “book” out at a time, meaning don’t bring your work issues home and let it dominate your home life. Don’t let your running consume you so much that it keeps you from doing other things that you want to do. Get one book out at a time, enjoy and do your best, then put it up and get another book out.
People ask how I remain sane with a job, running, family, podcasting, writing, film work, friends, family and church and this is my secret to the balance. I enjoy one, put it up and enjoy the other. I do talk about work some at home and I do film work with friends. I just don’t let one aspect dominate the other.
You may know someone that only talks about their hobby or job or the same thing every time you see them. This is a person that holds their full worth and identity in only one part of their lives. They typically aren’t that fun to hang out with for long periods. Use that awareness to avoid the trap in your own life.
Give all of your books the love and attention they deserve and don’t let one encroach too much on the others. You’ll have a happier life and feel more content in your true identity.
Entering the corporate environment can be intimidating. It’s like starting college mid-semester. The cliques have already been formed, they are in the middle of working on a project and the dynamics of the class are already set. You’ve got to take a seat and figure it out. Welcome to your new job!
How well you navigate the corporate environment can either give you a career boost or become an anchor that you will have a difficult time getting rid of. It’s important that we are successful as we acclimate ourselves to the environment.
Learn the environment and survey the landscape
One of the first things that you’ll need to do is learn the environment and survey the landscape. This goes beyond just settling into your new workspace and finding the breakroom, bathroom and conference area. You’ll need to spend some time learning the different teams, the culture, and subcultures that are happening in the organization. If you are working for a national or international organization, learn your local office first and then seek to gain knowledge about other locations.
You will need to understand the nuances before going through the next steps of picking a sponsor and mentor. You don’t want to saddle up with the person that turns out to be the office jokester or the person that no one respects. Knowing the environment has higher stakes than it did when you were in school. Making the wrong connections and associations could severely impact your trajectory.
Find a sponsor
Find someone in the organization that can be your sponsor. This will be a person that will vouch for you as you gain credibility and introduce you to other people in the organization. They don’t have to a senior level employee, although that never hurts. The right peer with a good reputation can be a great sponsor as you get your footing in a new company. Be sure to thank them and show your appreciation for every opportunity!
Find a mentor
It’s also helpful if you can find a mentor in your organization. They are different from your sponsor in that they focus more on your personal and career success. This person can actually be your boss if you two have a good connection and trust each other. If you feel more comfortable with a third party mentor, ask around and make that connection. The mentorship doesn’t have to be forever. Having someone for the first 6 months is a great timetable for both parties to get a feel of the relationship and determine if it’s necessary, or wanted going forward.
Starting a new job in a corporate setting can be overwhelming if you let it. Remember to have fun. You earned the spot you are sitting in now and your new co-workers want you to be successful in your duties. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt and let all of your co-workers start with a clean slate no matter what you hear about them.
The value of your word is much like the stock market. Its value fluctuates on a continual basis. Any company out there would love the ability to be fully in control of their rating on the market. There are many outside factors that go into the evaluation of a company with many of the factors being outside of the organization’s control. The good news is that while you have outside influences on the value of your word, you have full control over its value.
Underpromise and overdeliver.
One way to quickly lose value in your word is to consistently make promises that you can’t deliver on. Avoid trying to impress people with short turnarounds and unrealistic quality standards. Instead be up front and realistic and impress them by delivering something quicker or higher quality than you promised. If you know that you can’t deliver on a solution, don’t offer it.
Phrases like “always” and “never” work well when talking about the principles that we lead on. “We always treat each other with respect.” They also work well when talking about moral and ethical issues. There are not many other things that are absolutes. When you communicate with someone in an absolute and then it doesn’t play out that way, you’ve severely hurt your value. Find ways to be both clear and not as absolute in your communication.
Be clear and avoid adding confusion/rumors.
People will try to fill in the blanks when you aren’t clear in communication. Some leaders enjoy playing a cat and mouse game in their communication. They don’t want to tell you what fully going on, but they want you to figure it out. This only frustrates the ones that are sharp enough to catch on and others will miss the point entirely. Also avoid adding in subjectives, rumors or what-ifs when you have to deliver tough news. It’s weak leadership to try to hide behind a rumor to make yourself feel better about delivering a message. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Trust me. I said trust me!
If you find yourself saying the phrase “Trust me.” all the time, then you don’t have that person’s trust and you can’t command them to give you that trust. In cases where the trust has severely deteriorated, telling someone to trust you actually increases the damage. People can find it offensive for you to ask them to trust you when you’re the one that has destroyed the trust. Use the trust me phrase as a good check on your self-awareness.
Why it matters
The value of your word is closely associated with trust, integrity, leadership ability and relationship management. Your worth in your career increases as the value of your word increases. Your relationships grow deeper and are more meaningful as well. The value of your word is truly like currency.
If the value of your word were on the stock market how would it look? Would it be ever increasing? Would it have peaks and valleys? Would it be in a full sell-off, having lost all its value? Work to strengthen the value of your word so that people know they can take what you say to the bank.