A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that it was useless, they were never going to get out, their fate is sealed. The frogs kept jumping until finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the frogs above were saying and gave up, laid down, and died.
The other frog, however, continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. But as exhausted as he was, he kept jumping until, surprisingly, he made a jump so high he made it out. Once out, the other frogs asked, "Why did you keep jumping after we kept telling you it was useless?" The frog, reading their lips, answered, "Oh, I'm deaf, seeing your motions and yelling, I thought you were encouraging me the whole time."
Few functions a leader performs are more important that that of encouraging others. Encouragement keeps hope alive. In the Bible, no other person was better at this than Barnabas (his real name was Joseph). He was such an encourager to those around him that they gave him the nick name Barnabas, which means, "Son of Encouragement." What a name to be given. Whenever Barnabas was approaching, people would say, "Here comes son of encouragement." That is a good name to be known by.
If you want to stand out in your leadership, one secret puts you head and shoulders above everybody else – be an encourager. Encouragement is very difficult to find today. The Bible says, “Encourage one another and build each other up.”
The frog story above teaches us two lessons:
1. An encouraging word can bring hope and life.
There is power of life and death in your words. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up. It can motivate them to make it through today because encouragement restores hope for a better tomorrow.
2. A negative word can destroy hope and life.
During those times in which others are down and in despair, effective leaders will do all they can to lift others up with words that speak hope for a better future. They'll infuse them with optimism about themselves, their circumstances, others, and the organization.
Effective leaders don't make lite of or deny the circumstances. Neither do they speak vain words of false hope. They don't deny reality. What they do so well, however, is sustain hope with words of support and of a brighter future.
Anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times. Special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another.