Rule 6: Encourage others to succeed
Encouraging others to succeed is provided through coaching and coaching happens every day in a number of situations including the workplace. There are many coaching opportunities during the daily interaction between leaders and their team members, and being a great leader means identifying and taking advantage of these moments to help improve your employees’ performance and the culture of the company as a whole. I’ve put together a list of 7 ways to coach others, and while some may seem a little obvious, they are fundamentals that we should always be working on if we want to be the best leaders we can be:
- Never underestimate the power of positivity. You all know how big a believer I am of the power of positivity! When you’re someone who’s truly dedicated to leading and supporting others to bring out their best, you radiate positivity and sincerity. Coaching often involves giving feedback, and we’re all much more receptive when feedback is coming from a positive place rather than a negative one! Positivity is also infectious, so you’ll be brightening up the whole workplace too!
- Develop real relationships and build trust. Just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean your team automatically trusts you. Trust is something that must be earned, and the best way to do this is by treating your team as more than just numbers – get to know each person individually, and find out their goals and motivators. By showing a genuine interest in your team as people, you’re demonstrating that you’re a leader who’s focused on others, not just themselves. This will build your teams’ trust in you and allow you all to work together much more effectively.
- Use SMART goal setting. The SMART goal setting technique is fantastic. It’s one of my favourite coaching and performance tools, and I recommend any leader worth their salt use it regularly. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based, all of which are pretty self-explanatory. Giving your goals a clear structure and breaking them down into smaller and more achievable goals ensures a higher chance of success – introduce it to your team if you haven’t already, and see the difference it makes!
- Give (and ask for) feedback. Regular feedback helps keep everyone on track and identifies issues before they turn into bigger problems, as well as providing motivation and encouragement. You’ll also identify any knowledge gaps or training that’s required, and find out if there are any other resources your team feels they may need to better achieve the results you’re after. It’s important to remember that great leaders don’t just give constructive and helpful feedback, they ask for it as well. How can you improve and get better if you aren’t getting anyone else’s point of view?
- Use open-ended, not closed, questions. While you can’t always avoid the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, you need to make sure the bulk of your questioning is made up of open-ended questions so that you can encourage others to share their feelings and thoughts in more detail. You’ll be able to identify what needs improving, as well as current attitudes and whether everyone understands what needs to be done.
- Promote transparency. Transparency is another way to build trust and foster open communication and to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Transparency helps form and maintain relationships, and encourages consistency. By being open about your own journey, you’re showing your team that you are relatable and not infallible – dismantling the ‘leaders must be perfect and never wrong’ stereotype is vital to building positive employee relationships. Demonstrating openness encourages those around you to do the same and allows you to lead by example, which is a much more effective way to lead than the old ‘do as I say, not as I do’ way of thinking.
- Use motivation to drive performance and improve results. Find out what drives your team, both as a whole and individually, and you’ll know how to inspire them to perform better and achieve greater results. For example, some team members may be motivated by being given more responsibility so you might increase the scope of their role to allow them to explore how they fare with the added commitment and demonstrate the trust you have in their abilities. Feeling valued and appreciated inspires your team members to work harder, to repay the trust you’ve put in them.
These 7 ways to coach others will help improve your leadership by allowing you to build stronger workplace relationships and foster the trust, communication, and openness necessary for you and your team to be successful.
Doris Swift author of Goodbye, Regret: Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes, refers to “Encouragement being free but discouragement costing you.” The age-old idea that money is the most effective motivator just isn’t true, says Doris. Although motivation comes primarily from within, leaders hold the key to establishing a motivational environment for their team. And this is what every good leader should do, There is nothing more powerful than your team knowing you have their back and once they do, they’ll have yours too. Doris concludes by saying that you have the power to drive results through one of the most effective motivational tools in Leadership. The power of encouragement.
Amy Rees Anderson an entrepreneur knows, without a doubt that the “Fastest Way to Achieve Success Is to First Help Others Succeed.” Yet, there seems to be a belief in the business world that the only way to get ahead is to only watch out for ‘number one’. That is simply not the case. Brian Tracy explained it best when he said, "Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Amy says that unsuccessful people are always asking, 'What's in it for me?'" The fact is that our greatest successes in life often come through helping others to succeed, and without question, when you focus on helping others succeed your eventual payoff will always be far greater than your investment.
Leo Babauta in Zen Habbits shows what you should “Think About Encouraging Others to Be Brilliant.” It is a beautiful thing to create, to produce, to go out there in the world and make a contribution. But it is just as important, if not more so, that we help others to do the same — encourage them, that we support them and help them to succeed. Leo says unfortunately, many people seem to have a problem with this concept. They tear people down, block them, hoard the goods for themselves, and are jealous of the success of others. So go out in this world and create and go beyond that. Leo provides the following tips:
- Teach others to be brilliant and make a difference
- Encourage them to create, support them, give them a boost and help them succeed.
- And teach them to do the same with still other people.
Overall, Leo concludes by saying the world will thank you for it. And even if you never receive thanks, know in your heart that you’ve done some good, that you’ve lit your light in this world that will last beyond your mortal years, Leo makes a good point by saying that will continue to grow and burn brightly long after your dust has returned to dust and blown away in the wind.
In your life there would be many interactions during a given day at home, with friends, at work and also opportunities to encourage others to succeed. It’s important to put yourself in that mindset starting out in a given day and notice the changes as outlined in First Comes Courage, Courageous Mindset! A courageous mindset will drive you to act with courage. It is a conscious choice you have to make to take on this mindset. So, move out of my comfort zone and lead with purpose, with impact, with kindness, with courage, all key aspects of a courageous mindset
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
The Author Sonia McDonald
Founder and CEO of Leadership HQ and McDonald Inc. Leadership coach, entrepreneur, CEO and author.
Sonia McDonald is changing the face of leadership across the globe. She believes we should lead with kindness and courage, from the heart, and is known for her mantra ‘Just Lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her transformational coaching, leadership training programs and cultural transformation for organisations and encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped thousands of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.
Sonia is a founder and CEO of McDonald Inc., LeadershipHQ and Global Outstanding Leadership Awards and the newly launched Courage Conference. For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of leadership and she is beyond committed to her mission around building a world of great leaders.
She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader. She has been recognised by Richtopia as One of the Top 250 Influential Women across the Globe and Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs.
Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is a leading coach, an award-winning published author of newly released First Comes Courage, Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! and has become an in-demand keynote speaker on leadership, kindness and courage.
Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, kindness, empathy and courage as well as building outstanding leadership across the Globe.