As you communicate as a leader, you need to be aware of each individual team member's need for encouragement. You need to understand that each member of your department is a human being who needs to be encouraged from time to time.
However, encouragement is not just a pat on the back every now and then. Notice the root of the word: courage. To "EN-courage" is to put courage into others. If you think of it that way, it's not so much praise for a job well done as it is motivation to keep going in the face of the next big challenge.
During difficult times and periods of wrenching change, it's easy to become "DIS-couraged." The leader's job becomes feeding courage to his troops. In fact, encouragement is the new motivation.
Encouragement means reminding your staff that they have the skills and the talents to do the job. It means holding the vision out in front of them to keep them focused on the goal. It means helping them understand what pending changes mean to their roles and how they can adapt quickly.
Encouragement is often disparaged as a "soft" skill, but it's importance cannot be overstated. Sure, a leader can get people to act with a lot of yelling and screaming. That only lasts so long. Encouragement continues to work long after the encouraging words are spoken.