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The Most Challenging Leadership Behavior: Encourage the Heart [Video]

encourage the heart

Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash

Encouraging the Heart recognizes employees for their value

With 35 years of research, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have shown in The Leadership Challenge how leaders can practice key leadership behaviors (called The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®) to improve employee engagement and leadership effectiveness. 

Accomplishing extraordinary things in organizations is hard work. One of the most critical behaviors that leaders engage in to help keep direct reports engaged, determined, and hopeful is Encourage the Heart.


Time and time again, the number one challenge leaders have in Encouraging the Heart is slowing down and taking the time to do it. Teams tend to go from one project to another and sometimes the sentiment becomes “Another project down, let’s move on to the next one.” In the crazy-paced environment we work in today, it can be easy to get caught up in the craziness, yet it’s when things are most hectic and the workload is the heaviest that people need to hear that they are appreciated for all the hard work they do.


In every winning team, members need to feel the rewards of their contributions and receive recognition for their accomplishments. Great leaders are able to do just that by celebrating individual excellence on their teams and creating a community around shared team victories and values.


There are two main ways that leaders can Encourage the Heart:

  • Recognizing team members for going the extra mile: Employees who go above and beyond are doing so because they are passionate and committed; they won’t continue to do so for long if they don’t believe that doing so is appreciated and recognized
  • Celebrating victories and values: Creating a shared sense of accomplishment for employees helps each understand their part in the team’s greater achievements and reinforces the values the organization says are important


To help you embrace the spirit of Encourage the Heart, we’ve collected some quotes below that we hope will give you some inspiration:

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Bill Mugavin

Bill Mugavin , CPLP, is a senior consultant at FlashPoint. He has worked with top-tier Fortune 1000 global organizations to improve leadership and management effectiveness