Most people don’t leave ministries… they leave leaders.

I’m sure there are exceptions to this Dougism, but I personally know it to be very true as a leader and a follower.

I was listening to a friend today talk about his work environment on a church staff and the lack of encouragement he receives. This friend does an incredible job within his job! He’s well skilled, respected and a leader of other leaders. I’ve seen him in action several times and there’s no question he’s good at what he does.

Good at what he does… and starving for encouragement.

Why don’t more leaders/employers encourage the people working for them? I’m sure there are many reasons, but here’s five I was thinking about today.

1. Leaders are insecure

While we often assume those in charge to have a strong sense of self and security, it’s not always the case. Many leaders are deeply insecure and their insecurity has been the fuel that has driven them to acquire the position. They’ve reached high status with a low regard for their own.

2. Insecurity creates self-centeredness

Leaders don’t focus on others and the need for encouragement when they’re focused on themselves. Insecurity is a void that longs to be filled, and the more insecure one is, the more he/she will try to fill that emptiness. It’s tough to think about strengthening your insecurity when you’re thinking of yourself.

3. Leaders assume people already know their strengths, qualities and skills

Some leaders treat others as if the paycheck is all the encouragement that’s needed. If they’ve still got a job, it can be assumed their doing a good job. Getting paid should be encouragement enough.

4. Many leaders don’t realize the power of encouragement

Words hold great power—they can shape or shatter a life. Intentional, thoughtful and caring words are tools by which others grow. It’s not uncommon to run into leaders (even a successful one) who don’t appreciate the life-giving power of words and therefore hold onto compliments as if they were crumbs during a famine.

5. Natural encouragement wasn’t modeled

I’ve had leaders tell me, “I’ve just never seen effective displays of affirmation.” Sad, but true. Many leaders are products of an affirmation-free environment and honestly don’t know the power of encouragement, nor even seen encouragement liberally handed-out.

People are dying to be recognized, encouraged and appreciated.

What kind of leader are you choosing to be? One who looks to be filled, or one who fills the emptiness of others?

[Here’s an additional post titled: 7 ways to value others you work with

Question: What are the practical ways you encourage the people you work with? Share your actions here.