Encourage the Heart-my persective


By:Soraya Fallah

Kouzes and Posner introduce the “five practices of exemplary leadership in  THE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE which introduce the five practices of exemplary leadership. I am going to choose one of them and briefly explain if it is successful (or not) at my work sit.

Encourage the Heart

In June 2013 the supervisor and project manager of my work place encouraged the employees of the facility to become a partner with the Alzheimer’s Association in order to help our clients better but also to facilitate education regarding Alzheimer’s disease.

Becoming a partner required participation in a project called: “The Memories in the Making®.” MIM is a fine art project, in which a person with dementia spectrum uses simple tools to paint her/his story from the heart.  Using tools such as watercolors, crayons, pens, and paper a therapist will help patients depict their memories.

When our facility started this program, many of the facility staff objected because the project was long and exhausting. Many employees felt that a lot of time and effort was going into the project and they were already swamped with their regular duties.

Our supervisor and project manager  understood the concerns of the staff and listened to their objections but also stressed the importance of the project by holding an in-service training session with all the staff. She invited various trainers from different departments and brought experts from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Finally, after three months of hard work, our facility was able to help our clients display their art work to their families.  Eleven art pieces created by our clients who suffer from Dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease were chosen to be displayed by the association. One of artists, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and is generally disoriented, was able to sell his art work for 300 dollars and receive recognition in front of his family and peers. The creation of this exhibit helped empower patients, while magnifying their strengths, and dignifying them despite their debilitating illness.

The staff who had initially objected to the project were able to see the amazing results and started putting their hearts into the project. It was amazing to see the enthusiasm everyone started showing and this was all due to the leadership. Our directors’ ability to help staff put their heart into the project and see the value they were bringing to the table was the foundation of the success of this project and illustrates the importance of this skill in a leader. 
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the supervisor and project manager  was myself

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