It should go without saying that inspirational leaders are encouraging leaders. Inspiration and encouragement go hand in hand, and nothing is more opposite inspiration than discouragement. It is virtually impossible for a person to feel both discouraged and inspired at the same time. So to inspire, a leader must also encourage.
Encouragement boosts morale, motivation, and—most importantly—confidence. Inspirational leaders understand that confidence is just as vital for success as competence. As Andy Core writes, “Self-confidence is one of those intangible traits that encourages an employee to do their work well.” In other words, confidence in themselves and what they’re doing leads to greater competence.
But too often, smart, skilled people lack confidence in their abilities, and as a result fail to reach their full potential. Knowing this, inspirational leaders facilitate the growth of those they lead not only by focusing on developing competence, but also by helping instill confidence.
As Lisa Hill said in an interview for my book, Be An Inspirational Leader, empowering people is about believing in them, challenging them, supporting them, and not micro-managing. Those are the leadership habits that build employees’ confidence.
So make it your goal to excel at encouraging and building the confidence of those you lead. Value and respect each person who reports to you—believe in them, challenge them, support them, and do not micro-manage!
As inspirational leaders, we should understand and take to heart what the poet and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said: “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”
Now that is a recipe for greater success!