Years ago I heard a wonderful story on the radio that has stuck with me ever since. I believe it directly relates to Every Day Coaching and Leadership, and the impact we have on our people.
Two frogs were hopping along when they both hopped into a deep hole. In a panic, they started jumping as high as they could to escape but the hole was just too deep.
A group of frogs gathered on the surface and started yelling down to the frogs that it was too deep for them to jump out. Both frogs kept jumping, but to no avail. The crowd at the top continued to shout that trying to jump out was futile and they should just give up and die a peaceful death.
One of the frogs in the hole finally did just that. He took their advice to give up and just lay down and died. The other frog continued to jump and the crowd continued to urge her to give up. Eventually, the frog made a HUGE jump and leapt right out of the hole.
The crowd of frogs on the surface went wild. They couldn't believe she had saved herself from such a deep hole. When they asked her how she was able to do the seemingly impossible, the frog replied that even though she was deaf, she knew the crowd was yelling encouraging words. Because of that, she didn't want to give up. Love it!
The story reminds me of three important coaching elements around encouraging your staff to be even better:
1. Encouragement can help people overcome challenges and seemingly impossible obstacles. The people who work and with us need to hear that we believe in them, especially when we’re challenging them to be better. Your employees need to know that you believe they can increase their sales or average sale, learn new skills, take new actions with a customer, etc.
I can personally look back and see where a leader’s encouragement changed my life. I probably didn’t know it at the time, but that encouragement helped me reach a level of performance I never would have achieved without their encouragement and coaching.
2. People try harder when they know that others are pulling for them. It’s human (and maybe frog) nature. We try harder when we know that someone else has an emotional investment in us.
Here’s something many leaders need to remember. Encouragement has no value unless you share it. You can’t just think good thoughts about your team. You have to tell them! It also helps to share the “why” behind the encouragement. Why you need them to do it, and why it will benefit the customer and/or the employee.
This is also another reason building a strong team of people who care about one another is so important to the customer service experience and results. Customers feel that connection and encouragement among the staff. This is why it is so important to remove drama in the workplace.
3. It's devastating to directly or indirectly quit on people. People know when a leader has given up on them. They can see and hear when a leader is encouraging other people, but not them. Instead of quitting on someone, sometimes we need to find another way for the person to achieve the desired results. It is amazing what a mix of encouragement and accountability can have on someone’s performance.
When that doesn’t work, then we need to help the person move up or out. You can’t afford to have anyone on your team that falls short of expectation.
So let me ask, how good are you at encouraging your team, especially the employee who might be stuck down in a hole? Does everyone on your team know you believe in him or her? If not, be sure and tell that person today that you know how successful she/he can be.
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About Doug Fleener
Doug Fleener, a proven business and customer service experience expert and speaker/consultant, helps companies achieve performance that exceeds customer and employee expectations resulting in more sales, profits, and customers.Learn more about our services at Sixth Star Consulting, or call Doug at 866-535-6331 to discuss how he can help you achieve higher levels of performance and results. Learn about Doug's keynotes and workshops at DougFleener.com.