Encouraging the heart is all about letting people know that their effort and work has been noticed and appreciated. As I thought about it more, I realized that as a child, I remember sending those kinds of notes and wondered why I was having to re-learn a habit that I had already done in the past. I think that a lot of our habits get lost as we grow up. Our focus changes, and grappling with all of the new experiences can make it difficult to retain all our childhood lessons. I think the refresher in values and practices is an important part of the LDP–reminding yourself of the best practices you had as a child, and reapplying them to your adult life. Making sure your appreciation is known to someone that has done you a favor is encouraging the heart, and that is a practice of an exemplary leader.
One of the practices the LDP teaches is writing thank you notes to anybody who lent a helping hand or provided our group with an opportunity. Whether it is a guest lecturer, a company gracious enough to give us a plant tour, or even a stakeholder in a member project, we always finish the event with a thank you to show our appreciation.
So, it was with great surprise that the LDP received a stack of thank you notes from the kids at the Carbondale New School showing their appreciation for the cleanup project we had recently completed. The notes were all so thoughtful, with comments on what a large difference they saw, how much cleaner it was, and how less scary the closet appeared. What was remarkable about this was that not only did they notice our effort, but they demonstrated one of the practices of exemplary leaders and a strong LDP value.