How do you end your Email messages? I make a practice of ending my correspondence like this:
I started using my encouragement ending a few years ago during a time when I was experiencing a lot of discouragement. I decided to push back against the onslaught of negative emotions I was feeling by doing something positive.
The first time I concluded a message with my new encouragement ending it was awkward but the result was a more constructive tone and an uplifting conclusion. So I did it the next day…and the next day…and the next day…and a habit was born.
Just yesterday I received a return message from a man who I will probably never meet in person. It simple said, “I have never known anyone to end their correspondences with the word ‘encouragement’. I really like that.” Personally, I do too. I choose encouragement.
Leaders should be encouragers. Positive people are attracted to other positive people. Leaders at every level exert influence and it is sure better to guide others using positive encouragement rather than negative discouragement.
Leaders invite others into their sphere of influence by speaking words of affirmation and approval. They build up individuals and teams by using words that speak of confidence and hope. They cultivate relationships by strengthening bonds of trust.
Encouraging leaders help others make sense of the past in a way that brings meaning to an often disjointed and chaotic present. They explain how the blessings of the past actually enable the present. They interpret and even re-interpret past events in ways that reveal positive outcomes that are being enjoyed in the present.
Encouraging leaders discover purpose in the present and explain how lived-out opportunities are meeting real time needs in the lives of others. There is a synergy of effort that creates a persistent determination to make things better.
Encouraging leaders make the future look attractive and even better than the present. Encouragement is like a magnet pulling people together while removing some of the mystery and uncertainty of the future.
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) gives encouraging leaders some great advice, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Now there is some practical counsel that leaders need to hear and exercise consistently.
Later this evening I will be answering some Email and catching up on correspondence. In the back of my mind I already know how I will end each document. It influences how I create the text and construct the sentences to communicate important points.
Starting today I trust that you will find yourself thinking, speaking, and writing like an encouraging leader.