From Discouragement to Encouragement

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in Featured, Individuals, Miscellaneous, Organizations, Women | 0 comments

From Discouragement to Encouragement

Everyone experiences discouragement at one time or another. It’s part of life. Quite often, things just don’t turn out the way we would like them to, and no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to get the results we want.

The problem is that discouragement can be paralyzing; and so if you don’t have a plan for how to deal with it, then there’s a real danger that you won’t be able to when it comes.

It’s been said that it’s lonely at the top and for that reason alone leaders may suffer from discouragement more than anyone else in the organization.

So how can you as a leader turn your discouraging experiences into ones that encourage you to press on?

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Decide who you want to be :

When expectations of others are high, and you’re trying your best not to disappoint anyone, it’s easy to allow yourself to get squeezed into the mold of others, especially if you don’t know that that’s what is happening.

The way to avoid this is to treat the attempts of others to define you on their terms like a negotiation. That means you have to know in advance who you want to become and when you’re willing to walk away. The willingness to stand your ground, come what may, can be a very powerful tactic. If you’re a leader, then there won’t be many people who will be willing to call your bluff.

2. Focus on your strengths :

One of the challenges that come with leadership is the feeling that you’re not exactly sure what you’re doing. You have some idea of where you want to go, but not a clear picture. In this situation, it’s quite easy to find yourself wandering all over the place, in no particular direction. If you do if for long enough, you’ll end up spending time trying to obtain expertise in areas that you have no business being in.

You must learn give others the responsibility for doing those things where you lack the level of competence needed to solve a particular problem. You need to focus on what you do best, whatever that is.

Of course, this may leave you feeling as though you’re not making any progress or accomplishing much less than you would like; but running hither and thither won’t get you any closer either. In fact, it will dilute your efforts even more, and you could come to a screeching halt.

This can increase your discouragement by making you feel that you’re being underused – that your talents are going to waste. And, if truth be told, they are. But that’s because you aren’t focusing on doing those things where you can create the most value.

3. Maintain regular communication with your staff or, if you’re a team leader, with your team members :

Sometimes you can’t avoid being lonely; but most of the time it comes from failing to stay in contact with the very people who can help you the most. When that happens, you can reach a point where you feel completely out of touch with everyone else.

To avoid that, you need to make sure that you schedule time with those in your department or team.

Weekly or even daily meetings are unlikely to give you the kind of contact and feedback that will benefit both of you the most. Instead, you need to connect with people on a personal level. Some leaders, and managers, too, routinely have their lunch with just one person at a time. It gives them a chance to get to know the other person better without the kind of competition that would come from others in a meeting. And it can enable the subordinate to express feelings or concerns that that person might be unwilling to share in front of everyone else.

Such meetings can also clear up any misunderstandings.


As a leader, the initiative to do these things is on you. You can’t expect others to do them for you.

Find a quiet spot someplace where you can think these things through. Create a plan that you know you can implement, and then put it into practice.

Share that plan with those you trust the most and schedule your one-on-one meetings with them as soon as possible. It will encourage you no end when you do.

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