As an assignment for my leadership course this semester, we were placed into groups and given books on different leadership theories that we would later do a presentation on for the class. My group was given the book, “Encouraging The Heart: A Leaders Guide to Rewarding and Encouraging Others” by James M. Kouzes. As you may have guessed by the title of the book, encouraging others and understanding how to do is the main theme of this book. The author compares two very different styles of leadership to the reader; one in which reward and acknowledgement is very obvious and shown to everyone, and one where it is very casual, understated, and subtle. It was very clear while reading that workers who receive boisterous encouragement are more successful in their future task accomplishment than those who receive less than exciting versions of it. Though I have always known that encouragement and recognition is very important to the success of a job, I truly didn’t see the seriousness of it until doing this project.
We had to create a presentation that showcased what we learned in this book. Rather than making a boring powerpoint, we wanted to have the class to have first hand experience in examples of good and bad encouragement. So my group and I developed a presentation where we split the class in half, giving each side a different style of encouragement, and having them complete an almost impossible task of sorting a new alphabet in under 3 minutes. Going into the project, we were really sure if it was going to be a success! Though all of us had previously attended leadership seminars before, where games like these are played, NONE of us had played one like this before! We were hoping that even if the tasks weren’t completely, the side receiving positive encouragement would have thought the task to be less awful and more fun. Our fingers were crossed and on the day of our presentation, we dove right in and went for it.
The presentation went perfect! Our classmates reactions to the experience was exactly what we wanted. We wanted them to understand that to truly “encourage the heart” you need to be personal with others and truly show them that you appreciate what they have done. Our classmates showed not only themselves how necessary it is to positively encourage others but gave our group an even deeper respect for the importance of it. The book and presentation showed us that personal encouragement is key to a successful business and organization, and from this, I will forever try and expand on my abilities to give others what they need to thrive.