Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Review: Encouraging the Heart

Do you want to build a team with ownership, hope, results, and pride? If so, the subject of today's book review will help!

Encouraging the Heart: a Leader's Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others by James Kouzes and Barry Posner is a follow up resource to The Leadership Challenge.

For those familiar with Leadership Challenge, this book, Encourage the Heart, is an expansion on one of their five fundamental leadership practices.

At the core of Kouzes and Posner's leadership framework is the notion of influence founded on credibility. Leaders influence others and a leader's credibility is fundamental to their ability to influence. Leaders can develop their influence through five leadership practices including Modeling the Way, Inspiring a Shared Vision, Enabling Others to Act, Challenging the Process, and the subject of today's book review: Encouraging the Heart.

I appreciate the authors' emphasis on Encouraging the Heart as an aspect of leadership credibility. Leaders have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility - leaders can extend dignity, respect, and worth and genuinely make the world a better place.

Encouraging the Heart challenges leaders to care about their people, while maintaining focus on the team's ultimate objective: results. From the beginning, the authors emphasize that part of truly caring about your people is to set clear standards and expect the best. These are expressions of dignity and worth.

With that foundation, Encouraging the Heart challenges leaders to pay attention, personalize recognition, tell stories about success and values, celebrate together, and to be an example for others to follow.

The authors cover their material with many real life stories that add to the case and leave the reader motivated and ready to engage their team. I appreciate that the book concludes with 150 practical ways to encourage others with a variety of options for each of encouragement practices the authors recommend.

I strongly recommend Encouraging the Heart for leaders who want to grow in their care of people and for those who recognize that encouragement is not their strongest gift. Some people are born encouragers - if you're not one of them, this book is for you!

Happy Reading!

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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