Have you heard of the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman? If you haven’t, the basic premise of the book is that we all are wired more highly towards one of the five love languages and we function best when we receive it. The five love languages are acts of service, receiving gifts, words of affirmation, quality time and physical touch. The book is written for spouses to help with their marriage, but the basics of this can be applied to all life situations – marriage, work, family, kids, etc. I happened to be wired for words of affirmation.
Now whether you are wired for word of affirmation or not, encouragement is still a very important part of life. The right kind of encouragement can go a long way to affecting the well being of others. In business, it allows someone to know they are headed in the right direction. In a marriage, it lets the spouse know how much she is appreciated. For a family, it allows the children to know that that they are loved and appreciated for the efforts and things that they do.
For a Real Christian Businessman, encouragement needs to be something that we do all the time – it needs to be part of our DNA.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (HCSB)
It isn’t that hard to do, and once you get into the habit of doing more encouragement it becomes even easier. But don’t just go around saying “great job” or “way to go” all the time. That kind of general encouragement is appropriate sometimes and has its place.
The most effective encouragement can be found when you are very specific in your praise. “What a great job you did on that financial report, I particularly liked the detailed analysis on page 5 regarding our warehouse inefficiencies.” Or “I really liked how you ran that meeting today, you spoke very confidently and held yourself well, even when the dialog got a little tense.”
The key to proper encouragement is to BE SPECIFIC. When you are specific about your praise or encouragement it actually MEANS something to the other person, because it SHOWS THAT YOU CARE. Everyone wants to feel appreciated and needed.
How can you be more specific to others in your encouragement this week?