From birth to now over 80% of my life has been involved in sports. I have been either coached or coached athletes for the vast majority of my life. Sport is a unique environment where the aspects of competition can not be captured in other every day endeavors. I enjoy the pursuit of excellence, the fellowship, the highs and the lows of victory and defeat. To be a part of a winning team requires many different players each playing a different role. Within each team, leadership is a core component and the use of encouragement (or the lack of it) is a key component to a team's success.
As a coach, it has taken me years to understand that honey is often better than vinegar when catching flies. It is my role to recognize where a player is falling short and to encourage him to do better and to push himself harder. To this end, I have admittedly been too critical and made comments I would like to take back or at a minimum soften through the use of praise. A much better technique is to offer correction while focusing as much on what a player is doing correct. For example, it would be far better when correcting a player who blocked the wrong person to say, "John you did a great job of blocking on that play, your hand position was perfect, your aim point was spot on but next time lets choose the correct player to block."
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it" Proverbs 3:27
Ephesians 4:29). We are told to use words which support our spouses (Proverbs 22:6We are instructed throughout the bible to offer praise to others in such a manner as to build them up (),to praise our children (Proverbs 3:28) and which support our family and friends (Philippians 2:3). It is through the praise of others where we have the most influence as we are all apt to listen more attentively to praise than condemnation.
So, I would put to you a simple experiment which you should try every day this week. When you have a chance praise someone through another person. Let your praise be passed along to them or have it recognized by others. For example, you might be at a restaurant and the waiter or waitress is doing a great job. Take the time to tell the manager this employee is a blessing and the manager should count himself fortunate to have hired your server. Maybe you are a store and someone assisted you. Be sure to praise the store manager on how attentive the employee was and how they met your need. There are so many different ways to praise another and it is magnified when they hear it from a manager, friend or parent.
Encourage someone today and then try to make it a tool in being a leader. Take the time to offer praise to those who deserve it and by so doing you will be reminded of how much greater it is to give than it is to receive.