Encouragement Fuels Performance!

06.15.12 | Posted in UnCommon Leadership

Recently I went out for a walk/run and realized that the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon/Half Marathon was under way literally a stone’s throw from our condo. As soon as I started, I found myself going the opposite direction of the runners in the race, but on the exact same route. I then had flashbacks of the only marathon that I’ve done — the Disney Marathon in 2001 that I ran with my oldest daughter Stacy. I ran that marathon with a pulled groin. It was and still is an accomplishment that allows me to realize the ability of the human body and mind to push beyond what we believe are normal human limitations.

Right after the flashbacks of the 2001 Disney marathon I began clapping and cheering on the runners as they passed me. Watching their reactions was priceless! Some ignored the cheerleading, but most responded with thumbs up, big smiles and even big thanks. You could watch their physiology change as well. Chests went higher, strides got longer (especially in those that I complimented their “gait” and running style!) and heads went up. The reason I did this was because I remembered what it was like to have crowd support when I ran the Disney Marathon. You run through all of the parks and the crowd support is unbelievable. It is also very hard to explain how important it is to a marathoner. I’ve talked to many who agree it really helps endure the process.

What are the lessons for us as leaders?

  • Encouragement to your team can take on many forms, but I believe it is essential for every human being to be appreciated and encouraged. Yes, some of us don’t need as much as others, but all of us need some.
  • If you understand the human brain, you know that there is a basic need to know we are safe and secure. As a leader, if you can provide a safe environment for your team, they will turn off that part of the brain that is driven by fear and looking for danger and move into a more productive and creative mode.

These aren’t just my leadership beliefs. These statements have been proven in the world of brain science and neuro-leadership.

There are times when some of your team need to hear the “cold, hard truth” of their performance.  We need to be told we’re not performing up to the standards that have been set. But, is this your main method for motivation and leadership? If it is, then realize what brain science has learned. The research says we need at least a three-to-one ratio of “positivity” to “negativity” to thrive and perform at a high level.

Encouragement certainly falls into the category of positivity!

Who needs your encouragement today?

Onward & Upward!

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