We’re not supposed to get too personal at work. Feelings are meant to be secondary to professional considerations and the ‘touchy-feely stuff’ should be banished from our work culture.
While there is an understandable wisdom in developing sensible and productive working relationships, it is possible to create a working environment which ignores or at least overlooks the human beings and over-emphasises the human doings.
Try asking yourself what kind of encouragement really helps you. I would suggest that specific rather than general or blanket comments are more powerful. It helps to know that someone has noticed the detail of your work and commented positively on it. Again, it is better if the encouragement is unconditional. “You did this well but . . ” tends to dilute the encouragement.
If you think about it, you probably prefer to be encouraged regularly rather than infrequently. Some research suggests that we actually need encouragement on a daily basis. We thrive on a diet of encouragement rather than the occasional meal.
You may like to add some other characteristics of the kind of encouragement you appreciate. You may find that words, e-mails, letters or even cards work for you.
Having asked the question and concluded that a detailed, daily, undiluted, varied diet of encouragement is good for your work, can I suggest that you now have the recipe for encouraging others? This is the principle of Jesus’ golden rule “in everything do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7, 12)*.
You can build a professional and personal work culture on that foundation.
12 In everything do to others what you would have them do to you.
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