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Leadership is one of the most sensitive areas of research that has attracted massive attention of scholars for several decades. One of the areas of leadership that scholars have devoted attention to lately is the role of a leader in encouraging the hearts of the followers. According to Kouzes and Posner (2003), effective leadership involves encouraging the hearts of the followers in organizations as a way of making them achieve success in their respective areas of work. A leader must make followers feel that they have the special ability to achieve success even in cases where others feel that it is impossible. A leader must encourage the hearts of the followers in various ways in order to ensure that they remain motivated in their work. Another important aspect of effective leadership is generosity. A leader must be generous at heart.
He or she must understand the importance of giving material and moral support whenever this is necessary. Although many people have always associated generosity to material benefits, a leader needs to understand that it goes beyond the material support. It involves giving out information, the authority, and space for employees to be innovative and to make mistakes as they struggle to achieve success in their respective duties. This research will focus on determining how learning to encourage the heart of others and generosity relate to becoming an effective leader.
Encourage the Heart of Others as an Effective Leader
According to Kouzes and Posner (2003), leaders have been given the sole responsibility of ensuring that they encourage other junior employees so that they can remain motivated. Encouraging the heart of employees does not just involve giving them financial incentives. It goes beyond this. It involves understanding of employees from an individual basis with the view of providing them with what they desire at their workplace. When one is employed, Blanchard and Cathy (2002) say that there is always a feeling that he does not belong to the organization. The employee would feel that the only relationship between him with the organization is the service he offers, and the salary paid after the work. Such feeling should always be fought because they make employees lack the passion to be part of the organization. They develop a feeling that if they get another firm that offers better pay, then the best decision would be to move to that other company.
Effective leaders know how to encourage the heart of other employees. This starts with making them feel that they are not just employees, but an important part of the larger fabric of the organization. They should be made to feel that they form the integral part of the organization, and that their presence goes beyond the monetary benefits. According to Kouzes and Posner (2003), a cleaner in a hospital’s theatre should be made to feel that he is an integral part of personnel involved in surgical operations.
While the doctors and nurses will be responsible for the operations, he as the sweeper will be responsible for making the room appropriate for the operation to take place. Without the doctor, the process cannot proceed because he is an integral part of the team. Similarly, without the sweeper, the room will not be conducive for the operations and this means that it may not take place. This encouragement will make the sweeper to elevate his position within the organization to that of a senior member of the organization, while still working at that junior capacity. It eliminates monetary benefits as a factor that would determine the ability of the employee to stay with the organization. In its place, it makes employees feel that they own the organization.
The encouragement will make them feel responsible to the organization in every assignment that is given to them. They will realize that the organization looks upon their effort in order to move forward irrespective of their level within the organization. This is the responsibility of an effective leader. As Blanchard and Cathy (2002) say, the dictatorial form of leadership that was common in many organizations in the past may not work in the current systems.
Employees have been empowered through the special skills they gain out of education and experience, and can work in any organization where they feel that they are respected. Employing dictatorial approach of leadership would mean losing the best employees to competitors as they look for better working environments. An effective leader must, therefore, realize that the best and only weapon he or she can use is the power to encourage employees in order to influence them into undertaking specific duties. This is what will define an effective leader in the modern organizations.
Embracing Generosity as an Effective Leader
Generosity is another important aspect of effective leadership that modern day managers should not ignore. When talking about generosity as a leader, Blanchard and Cathy (2002) observe that it goes beyond giving material benefits. It may be necessary for a leader to ensure that its employees are given the best remuneration in order to eliminate the urge to look for better opportunities. However, an effective leader should realize that generosity involves so many non-monetary issues that employees need while working in an organization. Information is one factor that an effective leader should be generous with when handling employees.
As Kouzes and Posner (2003) observe, information is power. Some leaders would consider using this power for their own benefit. However, this may develop mistrust with other employees. An effective leader should embrace the need to share information as soon as he or she receives it as a way of making the employees share the power of the information. This will make them feel that they are integral part of the organization, and that they are respected by the leadership. A leader should also be generous with authority. Centralizing power may not be of much help in the current business environment. Decentralizing the power and generously delegating duties and authority to employees may be vital in achieving success. Employees should always feel that they have been given an important part of the organization to care for in order to make the entire system successful.
Leaders have an important role of making employees feel that they are integral part of the organization other than just mere employees. In order to make the employees develop such feelings, it requires a leader to find ways of encouraging their hearts through different approaches, especially using non-monetary policies. An effective leader will be able to make employees feel that they are not in an organization just for salaries but for the mutual development of all the stakeholders in the organization. Such a leader must realize that generosity, as a key component of effective leadership, goes beyond material benefits.
Blanchard, K. H., & Cathy, S. T. (2002). The generosity factor: Discover the joy of giving your time, talent, and treasure. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. Web.
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2003). Encouraging the heart: A leader’s guide to rewarding and recognizing others. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Web.