One of the most important roles you can play as a leader is that of motivator—even when employees haven’t met expectations. Instead of kicking employees when they’re down, use these phrases to refocus them and inspire them to move forward:
- “What do you think we should do (to recover/fix this/overcome the challenge)? And what’s the very next step we should take? Let’s give it a try.”
- “If you weren’t feeling so nervous/concerned/upset about your mistake, what would you do next? Let’s do that.”
- “You’re definitely on the right track when it comes to … Here’s what we can do to move everything in the right direction.”
- “I’ve seen you rise to challenges in the past, and I know you can do it again.”
- “You’re making progress on … and here’s how you can take it to the next level.”
- “I’m really encouraged when you … and I’d like to see you do more of that.”
Most important: Don’t use an employee’s failure as an excuse to withhold encouragement on other tasks or projects.
—Adapted from “12 Sentence Starters That Inspire Courage,” Dan Rockwell, Freak, https://leadershipfreak.blog.