Learning To Provide Encouragement For The Encourager

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How do you provide encouragement to someone that is usually so encouraging themselves? In this article, we explore 3 simple yet powerful ways to do just that.

Just because I'm an I-Style (88), doesn't mean I always want to be around people. The I-Style is warm, friendly, encouraging, and loves to interact with others. While this is true, not I styles always want to be around people. We may need to have interactions that are emotional, but over time these interactions are draining. We need encouragement from other's to keep going.

Case in point, I work as an HR director and I am consistently interacting with various teams and supervisors. These interactions are fueling and energizing (most of the time). However, when I get home it can be a challenge to interact in a friendly, encouraging way with my children.

If you know an I-Style and they don't offer the normal encouragement to you or are less interactive, they may just need a break. In my experience, sometimes I just run out of words and I need quiet. Other times, I would love an encouraging word or praise to kick up my energy and emotions again. But this is hard to understand when others are used to you sharing stories or having an opinion about things. It can be confusing when an I-Style seems out of it.

Give the I-Style some encouragement

So how does an I-Style refuel? Although, the people interaction is amazing and is needed, sometimes this isn't enough. Sometimes a more direct approach is needed.

Dr. Tony Alessandra has a simple rule that he calls the "Platinum Rule" that can help us here. It goes like this, "Treat others the way they want to be treated." This simple rule is a perfect fit for a situation like this.

Here is where the adaptive nature of DISC can be so powerful. This rule suggests, in a word, mirroring. Mirror back to the I-Style what they normally give you. Encouragement. I-Styles have abundant energy and enthusiasm most of the time, but sometimes I-Styles need a kick in the pants too.

How Do You Encourage An I-Style?

What does a kick in the pants for an I-Style look like? Start by helping them to see how much encouragement they have brought you in the past. I-Styles want to be acknowledged for what they contribute to a situation or to someone.

You can also show them you understand why they would be tired and that it's okay. I-Styles need approval from others. This helps them to feel validated in their emotions and state of mind. Another great way to support an I-Style is to mirror how they generally interact with you. Provide an upbeat and enthusiastic tone to the context will be very helpful for this style.

When you interact with them at a feelings level or any of the previously mentioned approaches, you are treating them the way they want to be treated.

After you've done simple things like this, you'll find a much more energetic and interactive friend on your hands. Then you may want to run away because they'll have a lot to say and stories to tell.

Encouraging The Encouraging Style

Here are the three suggestions for how to bring encouragement to an I-Style

  • Acknowledge what they've done to be helpful and encouraging to you.
  • Approve of their emotional state and empathize with them in it.
  • Be upbeat and enthusiastic, mirror how they normally treat you.

If you're an I-Style, how have you refueled and reenergized? How about those of you who work or live with an I-Style. What have you found helps to refuel them?

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