Student Leadership Practices Inventory – My Intentions – by Cathy Zhang

At the last Teen Committee meeting, we discussed the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership and how well and often we’ve done each practice. The practices I need to work on the most, in order, are Encourage the Heart, Enable Others to Act, Model the Way, and Inspire a Shared Vision (Challenge the Process is a practice that every Teen Committee member is going to work on).

My intention for this year as part of the Teen Committee is to work on Practice 5 – Encourage the Heart.

The first commitment of Practice 5 is to “Recognize Contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.” This commitment is about expecting the best, being clear about goals and rules, giving regular feedback and personalized recognition, being creative about incentives, and just saying “thank you.” The action that I will work on this year is to connect with people on a personal basis.

  • Make sure people know what is expected of them.
  • Maintain high expectations about what individuals and teams can accomplish.
  • Communicate your positive expectations clearly and regularly.
  • Let people know that you believe in them not just verbally, but also through your actions.
  • Create an environment that makes it comfortable to receive and give feedback, including feedback given to you.
  • Link recognition and rewards with what your group states it wants to achieve so that only those who meet or exceed these goals receive them.
  • Find out the types of encouragement that make the most difference to others.
  • Don’t assume you know. Ask. Take the time to inquire and observe.
  • Connect with people on a personal basis. Stop by and visit them where they are.
  • Be creative when it comes to recognition. Be spontaneous. Have fun.
  • Make saying “thank you” a natural part of your everyday behavior.
  • Don’t take anyone for granted.

The second commitment of Practice 5 is to “Celebrate the Values and Victories by creating a spirit of community.” This commitment is about creating the spirit of community, publicly celebrating accomplishments, providing social support, investing in fun, spreading stories, and celebrating as part of organization life. The action that I will work on this year is to err on the side of telling stories in a timely fashion.

  • Find and create occasions to bring people together.
  • Make sure to relate the fundamental principles that are being honored when you bring people together to celebrate.
  • Think and plan how you can take some time at a future group event or meeting to share a success.
  • Find out about people’s stories—what they are doing to make the organization successful.
  • Keep a journal so that you can capture (and remember) examples of exemplary performance.
  • Never pass up any opportunity to publicly relate true stories about how people in your group went above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Anywhere you interact with others is an acceptable venue for telling a good story.
  • Err on the side of telling stories in a timely fashion rather than saving them up for some special occasion.
  • Make sure that people understand how they are “part of the whole” and that lots of others are working to make them successful, even if they don’t know them personally.
  • Repeat this phrase at every celebration: “We are in this together.”
  • Plan a festive celebration for even the smaller milestones that your team reaches or the efforts people put forth. Don’t wait until the whole project is completed before you celebrate.
  • Have fun when you’re celebrating—laugh and enjoy yourself, along with others.
  • Set aside at least one day as a distinctive organizational celebration day, and remind people why it is important to remember and mark this day as special.
  • End each of your team meetings with a round of public praise, being sure to play around with ways to keep this ritual fresh, meaningful, and genuine.

How will I carry out my intentions?

I will carry out my intentions this year by boldly trying to motivate, inspire, and encourage others, as well as to recognize my own accomplishments.

What are some tools that may help me carry out my intentions?

“Post-mortems” would be a good platform for me to actually take time to review and celebrate the entire team’s achievements: this will allow me to recognize other people’s contributions, as well as my own.

What are some things that may hold me back from fully carrying out my intentions? How will I deal with them?

Often times, I get very carried away into the actual work I am doing. When I am done, I should instead put down my laptop (or whatever I am using) and take a moment to recognize everyone and what we’ve accomplished together.

Who will I recruit to help me? How can they can help me?

I will recruit some of the Teen Committee members who have already practiced Encourage the Heart a lot to help me. I think they would be a great source of motivation and encouragement for me to carry out my intentions.