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Tips for Leaders

Praising people for a job well done is one of the key behaviors associated with effective leaders who Encourage the Heart. Whether working on your own or with a peer or professional coach, here are a few important questions to ask yourself that will help determine the specific actions you might take to have the most impact.
  • How do you define a “job well done”? 
  • How do you define praise? 
  •  What kind of praise is rewarding to you? 
  • What kind of praise is rewarding to your team members? 
  • What opportunities do you have to observe praiseworthy events? 
  • What occasions could you add to your list? 
Take Action: With answers to these questions in mind, consider the following activity to help launch your efforts to improve your effectiveness in Encouraging the Heart:
Meet with several co-workers. Hand each of them several index cards. Ask them to write down one idea per card of what you need to change in order to be more positive, energetic, motivating, and inspiring.

When everyone has completed providing just one idea per card, gather the cards, shuffle them, and deal them out—including some to you. Go around the table and have each person read one. Don’t disagree with the recommended improvement. Thank the person for the idea and move on to the next one.

When the first reading is complete, collect the cards and deal them out again. This time have only your co-workers select their own cards. Ask them each to read their suggested improvement and on the other side of the index card to provide you with some ideas for how to make the change.

Thank them profusely for spending time with you and for their great suggestions, and have everyone return the cards to you. Sort them all into categories that you could work on at the same time. Prioritize the stacks. Grab the top priority, and get to work.

Adapted from A Coach’s Guide to Developing Exemplary Leaders, 2nd edition, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner with Elaine Biech, © 2017, published by Wiley. All rights reserved.


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