Exemplary leaders establish unambiguous standards, set high expectations, give attention to people, and thoughtfully recognize accomplisthment. Explicit standards serve to guide constituents and focus efforts in norms of reciprocity where feedback helps form consensus on goals. Leaders set high expectations of themselves and their constituents which in turn brings forth higher performance and positive images. Being positive, leaders also pay attention to people, they listen, and are sensitive to human needs. When giving recognition, excellent leaders use efforts to make the recognition personal and thoughtful. Good leaders practice memorable, creative, and unique celebrations and recognition. (Kouzes & Posner, 2002)
Another essential ingredient in the encouragement theme is celebration. Kouzes and Posner (2002) set out some ideas for celebrating wins and shared values. One idea is creating community spirit through ceremony and individual recognition. Public recgontiion also increase self-worth and group cohesiveness. Another element is storytelling. Teaching, learning, and communicating with employees in an open manner and through a story furthrer solidifies motivation and memorable shared experience. In addition, leaders model the example by acting out the values and bring encouragement from the heart.
The most significant encouragement from Herb Kelleher came from his zany, unique ways of being a cheerleader. Whether dressing up like Elvis or staging a dramatic madcap arm wrestling contest, Herb recognizes and celebrates in distinctive fashion. Not only does he set the example in these wacky displays, he insists that fun accompany the celebratory event.
Some may question Kelleher’s antics, yet his recognition and encouragement flow directly from his vision centering on people and fun. Financial chiefs question the outlay for parties, celebrations, banquets, greeting cards, outings, and presents in the budget. Herb frankly replies, “Southwest Airlines has the fewest customer complaints in the industry. How much is that worth” (Ellis, 2001, p. 13)