Encouraging the Heart

Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner

Courage. Encourage. Two words, same origin. Heart. You gotta have heart. Miles and miles and miles of it. There's no bravery or boldness without heart. There's no spirit or support without heart. There's no sacrifice or soul without heart. Nothing great ever gets done without heart. You gotta have heart.

And at the heart of leadership is caring. Without caring, leadership has no purpose. And without showing others that you care and what you care about, other people won't care about what you say or what you know. As a relationship, leadership requires a connection between leaders and their constituents over matters, in the simplest sense, of the heart. It is personal and it is interpersonal.

We need heart because the struggle to the top is arduous. Our research tells us that is we're going to make it to the summit we need someone shouting in our ear, "Come on, you can do it. I know you can do it!" It's not something we easily admit-a lot of times we think we can do it alone. But we all really do need encouragement. Encouragement boosts performance, strengthens our resolve, and improves our health. Otherwise, why perform to an audience? Why not just sing to an empty room, play to an empty arena, or sell only to yourself? We need the applause and knowing that we're connecting to others in order to do out best. We need the enthusiasm and the energy from others.

We need to feel connected to others and, in turn, they to us, because greatness is never achieved all by ourselves-alone. Encouraging the Heart is the leadership practice that connects us with one another. It signals and documents that we're in "this" together-whatever this project, program, campaign, neighborhood, congregation, division, and so on, may be. Social capital joins financial and intellectual capital as the necessary ingredients for organizational success. In creating social capital leaders encourage the heart so that people will want to be with and for one another. When leaders commend individuals for achieving the values or goals of the organization, they give them courage, inspiring them to experience their own ability to deliver-even when the pressure is on. When we recognize women and men for their contributions we expand their awareness of their value to the organization and to their co-workers, imparting a sense of connectedness that, being social animals, all humans seek. While we may all be connected, leaders make sure that we're in touch.

Excerpted from Encouraging the Heart: A Leader's Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others Copyright © 2003 by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. Published by Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint. All Rights Reserved.