Is Empathetic Encouragement Different than Motivation?

by | Leadership, Management, Motivation

Encouragement image

Weekly someone asks me, “Beth, how do I motivate my team?” My standard answer is, “Hire motivated people.” Dan Pink, a dedicated research guru, does a great job spelling out the internal and external ways people are motivated. The big ah-ha for me is in noticing the external motivators like reward or punishment are temporal and in the absence of either, the motivation is gone unless the individual is self-motivated.

Nonetheless, I see myself as a “relentless encourager.” I don’t think that is exactly the same as motivation. In my spiritual journey, I believe my spiritual gift is the gift of exhortation. I took a moment this morning to look up the word exhort and LOVED the definition. Here’s my interpretation…

To strongly and empathetically urge someone to do something.
To persuade someone to be or do their best.


Admittedly, a career in sales and leadership probably work out okay when you have an internal drive to persuade others. We are all trying to encourage others today (I hope). Everyone needs “empathetic encouragement” in today’s environment and in the days to come.

I challenge and encourage you to check in with a team member, a friend, and or a family member and see what’s important to them. Do they feel like they have purpose right now? Could you help them see what their purpose might be? Is there something they could own and call their own?  If so, could you empathetic encourage them to go get whatever that is? Can you help someone else master something they want to get good at?

What is motivating you right now? I’m personally stunned at how my own motivation in recent weeks ebbs and flows. What I know, though, is when I can be a source of encouragement to others, my heart sings.

Please post in the comment section of the blog, what your source of motivation is. What is your gift? Are you sharing It with others?

Love you,

Beth Standlee

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