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In “The Leadership Challenge” by Kouzes and Posner the fifth practice of exemplary leadership is to Encourage the Heart. Great leaders really bring people together, recognize contributions and celebrate community and relationship building.
Great leaders expect the best from their people and encourage them to step into their own. They also recognize people for their work and go out of their way to ensure that they provide reward and recognition that truly motivates that particular person. They tailor recognition to what that person would like because they take the time to get to know their people. They invest in building strong relationships with their teams and therefore can reward them with what that the employee will truly value.
Good leaders also invest in celebrations. They take the time to create rituals and events which honor progress and special events. They recognize that these are not frivolous events but truly create a spirit of community and demonstrate that they are personally involved.
The leaders recognize that they can work together, but if they can also have fun together then people will bond even more. The more the leader is involved in these celebrations the more that employees will feel engaged with the leader and truly feel connected to him/her.
A great leader encourages the heart of the organization, of the people in the organization, of him/herself be involved in what is going on day to day. Often organizations or leaders don’t focus on the heart and therefore miss the connection. Kouzes and Posner, based upon their research, say otherwise. It is important to focus on the people, getting to know them, and building strong community as this will support a thriving work environment.
Do you invest in the heart of your organization and your people? If not, what can you do especially during this holiday season to change that?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.