The current issue of Becoming a Strategic Partner includes a brief essay by Dr. John Maxwell, who describes five ways a leader can encourage those around him or her. His five W’s are:

  • Watchfulness: Observe those around you, note the ways they stand out and be specific in your encouragement.
  • Words: Express your encouragement. It is particularly powerful when expressed in public.
  • Writing: Spoken encouragement is meaningful, but written encouragement will last longer, which will allow the recipient to refer back to it often.
  • Wallet: Monetary encouragement will always grab people’s attention. But it is important to think beyond the dollar sign and find other, creative gifts of encouragement.
  • Winning: Sometimes the best way to encourage is to set an example of perseverance, sacrifice and victory.

Maxwell uses former NFL coach Tony Dungy as an example. After winning a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts, Dungy retired from his multi-million dollar coaching job and gives frequent motivational speeches to prison inmates. Maxwell writes:

You don’t have to visit a prison to encounter people who feel insignificant, trapped or fearful of the future. Those feelings are commonplace. Wherever you work, people are longing to be strengthened and refreshed by encouraging words. As a leader, you are in prime position to give others the boost they need to be their best.

The full essay and more of Maxwell’s thoughts are available at

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