Celebration – The Seventh C of Leadership

[As was discussed in a previous blog post, here at Inta-Great, we define leadership as “a service-oriented relationship by which change occurs as a leader influences others toward a common vision.”  In order to be effective at influencing others in the pursuit of that vision, we propose that leaders follow the Inta-Greated Leadership Model which consists of the “Seven Cs of Leadership:” (1) Composition; (2) Character; (3) Catalyst; (4) Compassion; (5) Communication; (6) Courage; and (7) Celebration.  Embodying the Seven Cs is what allows leaders to have an impact at the personal, team, and organizational levels and ultimately results in real transformation and sustainable results.]

Achieving the vision can be a long and challenging process.  Because of that, there exists the real danger of leaders and followers suffering from burnout and the temptation to quit.  In order to combat this, we present the seventh and final C – CelebrationLeaders practice celebration by showing gratitude and celebrating success in the pursuit of the vision. 

Good leaders are appreciative.  They understand that a positive word and a sincere “thank you” can help motivate others and create a positive work environment.  Known as “Encourage the Heart” by leadership experts Kouzes and Posner (2006), it involves expressing “pride in the achievements of the group, letting others know that their efforts are appreciated” (p. 7).  Why does being grateful and encouraging make such a difference?  It is quite simple really.  We all work harder and smarter for people we like, and we tend to like people who appreciate and encourage us.  Motivation expert Thomas (2009) puts it this way, “When you give team members recognition for the competence of their work…you are strengthening the message that good work is important, valued, and noticed…perhaps most important, you are validating and amplifying that team member’s sense of competence” (p. 173).

In addition to showing appreciation, Kouzes & Posner (2006) also emphasize the importance of celebrating short-term goals.  “Leaders also find ways to celebrate milestones” (p. 7).  Once again, Thomas (2009) agrees: “A celebration is a time to pause, recognize that a significant milestone has been reached, and savor that fact” (p. 185).  This type of celebrating is important because it is another way to rally people around the vision and cultivate enthusiasm for the completion of the vision.

Leadership expert, Kotter (1995), emphasizes that it is important to set short-term goals that support the vision and celebrate the achievement of those goals along the way.  To him, celebration consists of rewarding the people involved with achieving the goals.  More than just financial incentives, rewards can take the form of recognition, praise, fun events such as pizza and ice cream parties, and promotions.  Kanter (2005) also supports the celebration of short-term wins when she writes, “Remembering to recognize, reward, and celebrate accomplishments is the final critical leadership skill.  Organizations that desire initiative and innovation thrive on celebration” (p. 14).

And with that, we would like to congratulate you, the reader, for having read this far and investing the time and energy into learning about the Seven Cs of Leadership.  We also pause now to take a brief moment to savor the feeling of having completed a thorough presentation of each of the Seven Cs – with a particular focus on exploring how each of those Cs connects to serving and transformational leadership principles.  But alas, one cannot stop here.  Theory is only as useful as its application, and so, we encourage you to consider how you can implement the principles of the Seven Cs while moving forward on your leadership journey.  As always, we wish you the best of luck, and would be honored to serve you in any way we can.

(Please visit www.inta-great.com for information on our leadership offerings such as The Inta-Greated Leadership Institute (I-Lead) or WILLOW, Women In Leadership Leading Other Women.)

Referenced Works:

  • Kanter, R. M. (2005). Leadership for change: Enduring skills for change masters.  Teaching Note, Harvard Business School Publishing, 1-15.
  • Kotter, J.P. (1995). Leading change: Why transformational efforts fail. Harvard Business Review, 73(2), 1-9.
  • Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. (2003). Student leadership practices inventory.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Thomas, K.W. (2009).  Intrinsic motivation at work: What really drives employee engagement. San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler.