Of Course It Does!!!
I had to laugh when I read the headline of the Harvard Business Review Stat of the Day: Wishing Someone Luck Can Improve Performance. Research has been done in Germany that showed that when people were told "my fingers are crossed for you" before attempting a task, the task took them on average 3 minutes. For the ones who were not given the encouragement, the task took an average of 5 minutes.
My thought was, "Of course it improved performance!" Unless someone feels patronized by encouragement, it always has the mental affect of boosting your energy and determination toward completing a task. You know you are not alone. Someone is counting on you-or believes in you. The person giving the encouragement is also creating a level of expectation.
In our training programs we hear that one of the biggest frustrations workers face in the fast-paced business environment is rarely hearing that they are doing a good job. Managers and supervisors think they are too busy to take a moment and thank workers for their efforts or offer encouragement. This study tells them that they may be dead wrong with that type of thinking.
If you go back and do the math, the workers in the study improved their performance by almost 40% just by having someone say something positive to them. Where else can you get that return on investment in your people? Take the time today to offer encouragement to those around you-regardless of how small it may seem.