Review: Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others

Encouraging the Heart: A Leader's Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing OthersEncouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others by James M. Kouzes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received this book as part of a manager training seminar I attended. It’s not my first management improvement book and it’s not my first touchy feel-y self-improvement book. My dad had me read Dyer, Chopra, Tony Robbins, Maxwell Maltz, and Stephen Covey. But this is the first time I’ve read a touchy feel-y management improvement book since finish my first assignment as a manager.

So it is with a combination of skepticism and belief that I read this book. I’ve seen some of these principles put into place and they sometimes work. And I’ve read of many of the psychology behind the principles and, while I’m no psychologist, they seem to agree.

Upon completing the book, I feel the same way as I did when I made the latest status update. I get the trend to be positive and happy and all that. But what I need is a touch of realism. That’s just how I roll. I find that my ability to apply the principles in these kinds of books is limited by their focus on everything being perfect if you follow the plan. What I need is the last section of this book (and similar books) to be – “OK, that didn’t work exactly as planned. Here are some things we’ve noticed…..” or “This is how you keep the harmony, koombaya state we just had you erect at work while still disciplining and firing folks.” Because just making every feel appreciated doesn’t mean everyone’s going to work hard or there won’t be sexual harassment, etc. The book tries with its last chapter to address this by saying the reader needs to find xis own voice. That things may feel a bit false. I feel like they started off in the right directions and then said some nice things about artists and considered the job done.

This is why I prefer interactive classes and seminars to books. They aren’t always perfect, sometimes the facilitator is so focused on being chipper that they dismiss any negativity. But that’s not the way to teach, it’s the way to make people check out and stop listening to what you’re saying. Because some people are mean or inconsiderate at work and just talking works no better than it did with the bullies in grade school.

Anyway, the book has decent principles and it may work for the way your brain works. Flip through it at a book store or something.

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