Recognition, appreciation and celebration by Diana Hartley, owner of Diana Hartley Consulting
Some might accuse me of being soft on the values of the heart in all areas of life, including my organizational work. Maybe I am, but I have read countless books and articles that suggest that the best way to get positive results with people is to extend kindness and respect. Perhaps, some people silently believe in these values, but habitually micro-manage. We know the command and control model worked in the past, but at what cost? It tends to demotivate, creates descension, and breeds unhappiness in people who can’t wait to jump ship for a better company. I know there is another way to lead that creates loyalty, excellence and trust. The business media doesn’t help me make my case for this softer, gentler management style
as it focuses on profit and expansion, market trends and revenues. Captains of industry like the Tesla’s and the Jobs’ are touted as shining examples of extreme success while quieter leaders do not create the buzz that sells. In any event, management consultants have been teaching this for years and now more and more companies are coming onboard. The book, Encouraging the Heart, documents years of studies that prove that compassion and positive recognition bring success. In it, the authors document seven proven essentials for great leadership.
They are: 1.     Establishing clear standards 2.     Expecting the best, but also being realistic, optimistic and kind 3.     Paying attention to your people-get to know them 4.     Personalizing the recognition of achievement 5.     Broadcasting stories of excellence company wide 6.     Celebrating victories together-creating group wins 7.     Setting an example-modeling best behaviors and practices And I would add from my experience: 8.     Building a flexible, but solid organizational culture that supports these essentials I was privileged to write for Barry Posner, co-author of this book, who was Dean of the Business School at Santa Clara University at the time. In the beginning of our association, I didn’t know that he and his partner, Jim Kouzes, supported a program I created called Everyday Leadership Legends. As it turned out, the stories I wrote for corporations in Silicon Valley, written to reward outstanding performance and demonstrate best practices, were right up their alley. I believed then, as I believe now, that people need to be recognized for their achievements which can motivate others to do the same.
I saw a story on TV a few weeks ago about the retirement of American Express CEO, Kenneth Chenault, 37 years with the company and sixteen as its CEO. I don’t know if the whole organization was managed with heart, but scenes filmed of his farewell visits to multiple offices around the world showed his love and vulnerability. In return, his employees showed an outpouring of love toward him, many crying in the audience.
By simply creating these global goodbye events, he created solidarity for his employees who must move forward without him. This is an important example of how a successful leader leads a global giant like American Express. What can you do today to recognize your employees? A simple “thank you” for a job well done can be a great first step to building a strong connection to your people. They truly are the heart of your organization.
Diana Hartley is the sole owner of Diana Hartley Consulting. She is leadership development consultant, communications trainer and life coach. Her website is
The Heart of Leadership
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