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What Leaders are Learning

Leaders Celebrate

Leaders Celebrate

Leadership Spokane is committed to the truism that leaders always learn. This week we have celebrating our sixth annual Gala. It is a sold out affair hopefully bubbling up to be a party for all. I am so thankful that our previous director, Linda Finney, envisioned this event six years ago, because celebrating leadership is an imperative. Servant leaders by their very humble nature often eschew recognition but honoring our leaders is the best means to motivate future good deeds. Our Leadership Lights the Way Gala introduced the King Cole Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award to honor two individual leaders in our community every year but the Gala writ-large is a celebration of ALL our alumni and their impact to our great community.
From a broader perspective, leaders must always remember to celebrate within their organizations. “Let’s Party” may be too loose a term for me to commonly advocate for, but the sentiment is important to embrace. Sonya Shelton in a July 2014 blog “Why Should Leaders Celebrate Success?” points out: “As executive leaders, it’s easy to get moving on the next thing before we celebrate our successes and achievements, especially the small wins. Celebration honors the work that has been done and shows gratitude to the people who do it. Don’t forget to celebrate!” Branding specialist Brenda Bence adds a few other items to consider. Celebrating allows one to remind an organization what goals were set and accomplishments achieved. Leadership Spokane, for example, has set a long term goal of graduating 10,000 leaders—every gala we are reminded how we move closer to that shining goal.
Bence also maintains celebrating motivates followers to achieve better results and build momentum. For us, every Gala has increased in attendance as word has spread. Indeed, parties by their very nature increase the positive energy for an organization, with momentum building over the past few months to the point tickets were exhausted with two weeks to go. Whether big or small, parties increase energy both with the pre-excitement and the afterglow. Likewise, the rewards of getting employees to meet in social situations outside work is priceless.
A final reason leaders should ensure they take time to celebrate success is to support the notion of winning. Followers always want to feel part of a successful company so celebrations affirm that fact and give a sense of confidence. In my three years hosting the Gala, seeing the smiles of the alumni and hearing their testimonials of being proud to be a member of their class has strengthened my belief in the program immeasurably. I started three years ago believing in leadership; I now believe in Leadership Spokane. I hope the alumni attending the annual event feel a similar sense of euphoria and accomplishment attending.
Leaders need to lead their team to accomplishment. Hard work, inspiration and lending a hand are all part of the equation. Celebrating achievement is not always immediately thought of, but certainly is something of value in a leader’s toolkit. Affirming the goals achieved, building momentum, drawing the team together, increasing positive energy and reminding followers they are winners are all reasons that celebrations enhance leadership. So, every once in a while, leaders should stop and smell the roses and throw a party. We are excited this week to celebrate in grand fashion recognizing the accomplishments of our alumni. Yes, leaders celebrate!
“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” ~ Thomas J. Peters