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Textbook Worksheet – Chapter 9: Recognize Contributions
Please read the chapter above and complete the worksheet responses below. Your worksheet does not need to
be any longer than one page in length. Submit to the Blackboard and Turnitin links in the Assignments section.
What Practice does this chapter/commitment fall under? Highlight the correct response.
Model the
Inspire a Shared
Challenge the
Enable Others to
Encourage the
Using specific detail from the chapter, how and why should a leader personalize recognition?
Using specific detail from the chapter, identify and describe three (3) actions leaders can take to Recognize
Action 1:
Action 2:
Action 3:
Using specific detail from the chapter, describe one key idea that stood out to you in this chapter and briefly
discuss why.
Textbook Worksheet – Chapter 10: Celebrate Values and Victories
Please read the chapter above and complete the worksheet responses below. Your worksheet does not need to
be any longer than one page in length. Submit to the Blackboard and Turnitin links in the Assignments section.
What Practice does this chapter/commitment fall under? Highlight the correct response.
Model the
Inspire a Shared
Challenge the
Enable Others to
Encourage the
Using specific detail from the chapter, why do good leaders invest in fun?
Using specific detail from the chapter, identify and describe three (3) actions leaders can take to Celebrate Values
and Victories.
Action 1:
Action 2:
Action 3:
Using specific detail from the chapter, describe one key idea that stood out to you in this chapter and briefly
discuss why.
While in college, Kevin Straughn and Kaitlyn Morelli spent a summer working together as head
coaches for a swim league team in their local community. With swimmers ranging in age from six to
eighteen, and an eight-week season giving them a relatively short time together, they needed to
build bonds and a sense of community within the team right from the beginning. They started the
season with a get-together where they clarified their goals for the summer: improvement of each
swimmer on the team and success for the whole team in the Summer Swim League Championship.
“The team had won the championship in previous years,” Kevin and Kaitlyn told us, “and we wanted
to build off of that right from the start, giving swimmers something to set their sights on.”
The team’s name was the Hurricanes, and the coaches used this name as a metaphor to reinforce
its values and the potential victories ahead. At their kickoff get-together, Kevin and Kaitlyn had all
the swimmers paint the back wall of the clubhouse with slogans like “Hurricanes—we blow you
away” and “Hurricanes—we make waves.” All the swimmers signed their names to the wall that day,
making a pledge to come to practice and work on their skills to help the team make it all the way to
the championship. It was a way to pull the team together on their goals of individual improvement
and team success. “Swimming is a sport that makes it easy to feel part of something,” Kaitlyn
explained. “It has both an individual and a collective component. We could celebrate the success of
individual swimmers after each meet and also point to the impact this had on the team’s success.
We made it a point to help them see that connection, to make them feel part of something bigger
than their individual success or loss in each race.”
As they worked to create a clear set of goals for the individual swimmers and for the team, Kevin
and Kaitlyn took the time to understand each swimmer’s strengths, challenges, and potential for
contributing to the team’s performance. With this knowledge, they could encourage each swimmer
individually and celebrate his or her accomplishments with the rest of the team. “The first practice
after each meet was always a fun game day,” the coaches told us.
We’d talk about the successes of the meet—there were always some, even if we lost the match—
and then spend time just having fun in the water, being together and celebrating the hard work
they’d all put in to get ready for the meet and the way they’d supported each other. It was enjoyable
and pulled the team together.
Celebrations—from swim teams to work teams; across classrooms, homes, families, communities,
and organizations; and around the globe—are an important part of what it takes to make
extraordinary things happen. People take time off from classes or work to gather to mark special
occasions. They march in elaborate parades down the city’s main street to shower a championship
team with cheers of appreciation. They set off fireworks to commemorate historical events or the
beginning of a new year. They convene impromptu ceremonies to cheer the victories of their
colleagues. They attend banquets to show their appreciation for individuals and groups who’ve
accomplished an extraordinary feat. They sit down at elaborate feasts to give thanks for the
bountiful harvest. They join with classmates at the end of a capstone project, give each other highfives for a job well done, and make plans to get together and celebrate. And in tragic times, people
come together with eulogy and song to honor those who showed courage, conviction, and sacrifice.
People take the time to come together, tell stories, and raise their spirits because celebrations are
among the most significant ways people all over the world proclaim respect and gratitude, renew a
sense of community, and remember shared values and traditions. Celebrations are as important in
defining a group as the things that make up its day-to-day existence.
Performance improves when leaders on campus and in communities and corporations publicly
honor those who have excelled and demonstrated to others that “we are all in this together.”
Leaders make the group a place where people want to both be and stay. That is why exemplary
student leaders make a commitment to Celebrate the Values and Victories by mastering these
Create a spirit of community
Be personally involved
When leaders bring people together, rejoice in collective successes, and directly display their
gratitude, they reinforce the essence of community and commitment. By being personally involved
they make it clear that making extraordinary things happen requires everyone’s commitment.
Create a Spirit of Community
Too often, organizations operate as if social gatherings were a nuisance. That’s nonsense, because
they aren’t. Human beings are social animals—hardwired to connect with others.1 This is evident all
the time on campuses around the world. Students have a desire to connect with other students, so
they form and join student governments, fraternities and sororities, honor and service societies,
residential learning groups, intramural sports teams, and the like. People are meant to do things
together and form communities, demonstrating a common bond. When social connections are
strong and numerous, there’s more trust, reciprocity, information flow, collective action, and
One of the rules Kevin and Kaitlyn lived by was that the Hurricanes team was about more than
swimming. It was about a spirit of good health, fun, friendship, and support. They made it a point to
create opportunities to do things together outside of practice and meets. “We did outside activities
for the whole team, like a car wash fundraiser,” they told us. “But we also did things to let the
different age groups connect. We did movie night for the seniors and pizza supper for the little
guys. It was fun for everyone to be together away from the pool.”
Exemplary student leaders know that promoting a culture of celebration fuels a sense of unity.
Whether celebrations, ceremonies, and similar events are to honor an individual or group
achievement or to encourage team learning and relationship building, they offer leaders the perfect
opportunity to explicitly communicate and reinforce the actions and behaviors that are important in
realizing shared beliefs and shared goals. Sometimes celebrations can be elaborate, but more often
they are about connecting everyday actions and events to the values of the organization and the
accomplishments of the team. In the college environment, populated by students eager to have fun
and “party down,” celebrations can, however, lose their potential for these purposes.
Celebrations are not about having a great party. They often contain the same elements as a great
party, but there’s an additional ingredient that makes them so significant. True celebrations contain
a clear articulation of the achievements of the members of the group and say in a loud, clear voice,
“This is what we stand for, this is what we believe in, and this is what we are proud of.” Exemplary
leaders seldom let an opportunity pass to ensure that everyone knows why they’re all together and
how they should act in service of the celebration. Moreover, recognition and celebrations often are
not just about what has already occurred and been accomplished; leaders also use these occasions
to build the foundation for future contributions.
Celebrate Accomplishments in Public
Kaitlyn and Kevin took the opportunity to highlight the successes of individual team members after
each meet. Swimmers who made personal-best times were recognized on a “Hurricane Heroes”
bulletin board for all club members to see. The coaches also took time during the first practice after
each meet to highlight the contributions of individual or relay wins and personal bests. “We’d let
them know the points each win added to the team’s score, and give a round of applause for a
personal-best time,” Kevin said. “That recognition makes a difference; whether it’s for a six-year-old
who just beat their very first time or a senior swimmer who hasn’t set a personal-best time in a long
while, the recognition reinforces that their accomplishment matters.” Kevin and Kaitlyn understand
that individual recognition increases the recipient’s sense of worth and improves performance.
Public celebrations have this effect as well, and they add other lasting contributions to the welfare
of individuals and organizations that private, individual recognition can’t accomplish. It’s these
added benefits that make celebrating together so powerful.
For one thing, public events are an opportunity to showcase real examples of what it means to “do
what we say we will do.” When the spotlight shines on certain people, and others tell stories about
what they did, those spotlighted individuals become role models. These people visibly represent
how the organization would like everyone to behave and concretely demonstrate that it is possible
to do so. Public celebrations of accomplishment also build commitment, among both the individuals
recognized and those in the audience. When you communicate to individuals, “Keep up the good
work; it’s appreciated,” you are also speaking to the larger group. You are saying, “Here are people
just like you who are examples of what we stand for and believe in. You can do this. You too can
make a significant contribution to our success.”
Exemplary leaders point out the accomplishment of the individual and effectively reinforce that the
entire group wins when people excel in this way. They understand that celebrations are not about
making people feel as though there are favorites in the group but about making them feel proud of
what they have accomplished because of contributions of particular members. The secret is in the
word we. Leaders might point to individual accomplishments, but they connect how one person’s
excellence contributes to a win for all, pulling the group together and reinforcing the sense of
community. The process of creating community helps ensure that people feel that they belong to
something greater than themselves and are working collectively toward a common cause. Public
celebrations of accomplishment serve to strengthen the bonds of teamwork and trust.
Some people are reticent or reluctant to recognize others in public, fearing that it might cause
jealousy or resentment. Forget these fears. All winning teams present Most Valuable Player (MVP)
awards, with the recipients usually selected by their teammates. Public celebrations are meaningful
occasions to reinforce shared values and to recognize individuals for their contributions. They
provide opportunities to say thanks to specific individuals for their outstanding performance, and
they also provide occasions to remind people of exactly what it is that the organization stands for.
Private recognition is a wonderful thing. It motivates and builds the relationships essential for
leading others, but it doesn’t have the same impact on the team as public acknowledgment. To
generate community-wide energy and commitment for the common cause, you need to celebrate
successes in public. Awards ceremonies or banquets are familiar to most people, but there are other
ways to celebrate publicly, even when you can’t get everyone together in the same room.
Kenzie Crane, for example, created an online “Brag Room.” Responsible for overseeing recruitment
for all the sororities on her campus, she worked with a team of twenty recruiters, and the Brag
Room was the way she provided a mechanism for people to be recognized “publicly” by their peers.
Setting it up on the web was easy enough, but the key was making sure that everyone understood
the intention of the space and participated. The Brag Room’s message was: “Here’s where we want
you to post and share the stories about someone you’ve seen doing something that made you proud
to be associated with that person, and with recruiters in general.” Heaps of stories and
appreciations were posted. There was a posting about how someone dealt with a medical
emergency in a special way; another acknowledged someone making a valuable introduction; and
others gave examples of people going out of their way to stand up for the sorority system. All those
stories, Kenzie said, “really made us all feel great and proud of the work we were doing.”
Provide Social Support
Ceremonies and celebrations are opportunities to build healthier groups, to enable members of the
organization to know and care about each other and offer social support. Research across a broad
range of disciplines consistently demonstrates that social support enhances productivity,
psychological well-being, and even physical health. Studies have shown that among undergraduate
students, the best predictor of their happiness is social support; it is even more important than such
factors as GPA, family income, SAT scores, age, gender, or race.2 Social support not only enhances
wellness but also buffers against disease, particularly during times of high stress. This latter finding
is true regardless of an individual’s age, gender, or ethnic group. In fact, George Vaillant, Harvard
professor of psychiatry who directed the world’s longest continuous study of physical and mental
health, when asked what he had learned from his forty years of research, said, “The only thing that
really matters in life are your relationships to other people.”3
Take it from Angela Close, who started a school club called Letters to Soldiers when she was a high
school sophomore. A teacher suggested that students write a letter to a US soldier to show
appreciation for his or her service. When Angela wrote her letter, she included a few facts about
herself plus “some cheesy jokes” and events that were happening around her town and
condolences for the loss of friends in the line of duty. It took nearly five months for her to get a
response, but the letter she received was filled with gratitude for her caring and sharing. The reply
was from A. J. Pascuiti, a Marine gunnery sergeant who had graduated from her same high school.
About the letter, he said, “It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. Although the
students may never physically get to see how they change lives, they are doing something that is
helping soldiers who are out on the front lines; it validates what we do.”
From that moment, Angela knew she had to continue sending letters to soldiers abroad. She started
the letter-writing club, and it has been growing ever since. The club members receive very few
letters back, but that is not the goal. Their purpose is to offer the support and connection they
believe the soldiers who are serving the nation deserve. As one student explained, “I feel like it’s a
small way to change the world.”
Social support is not just good for your physical and mental health. It’s also essential to outstanding
performance. You have probably heard a class valedictorian’s presentation at graduation. You may
not remember the exact message, but if you recall the spirit of the speech, it was most likely one of
appreciation for the support received along the way, gratitude for the friendships and meaningful
relationships that led to the speaker’s success, and optimism for the future of his or her classmates.
These sentiments are consistent with what researchers found when analyzing the speeches of
baseball players when inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.4 As elite athletes, they had
achieved the highest recognition in a field demanding top physical skills. Yet for almost two-thirds
of them, their words of appreciation were not so much about technical or practical assistance as
they were about emotional support and friendship.
What’s true at home, in the community, and on the playing field is just as true for student
organizations. People who have friends at work or on their team or in their classes are more
productive, feel informed, and comfortable sharing ideas; they report not only being more creative
but also having more fun in these activities and getting more done in less time.5
Think about how these findings translate to the activities you are involved in as a student leader.
Isn’t it more fun to work side by side on an event with people you know, trust, and can share and
laugh with? Doesn’t it feel as though you get more done when you are communicating with people
you understand and appreciate? Leaders find every opportunity to strengthen the personal
relationships in their groups, not only because it helps get the job done but also because in doing
so, they boost the groups’ spirits and well-being.
Our files are full of personal-best leadership cases in which robust human connections produced
spectacular results. When people feel a strong sense of affiliation and attachment to the people in
their group, they’re much more likely to have a higher sense of personal well-being, to feel more
committed to the organization, and to perform at higher levels. When people feel distant and
detached, they’re unlikely to accomplish much of anything.6 When people are personally involved
with the task and feel connected with their colleagues, they can perform extraordinary feats.
Student leaders understand that celebrations provide concrete evidence that individuals aren’t
alone in their efforts and struggles, that other people care about them, and that they can count on
their support. Celebrations reinforce the fact that people need each other and that it takes a group
of individuals with a common purpose working together in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration
to get extraordinary things done. Kenzie told us that when sorority rush ended at her school,
everyone met in a large open space on campus to welcome their new members. All the recruiters
she had worked with came to this event, and had the chance to see the results of their hard work. “I
looked around and saw all the recruiters, some in tears, some holding hands, all of them smiling,”
Kenzie told us. “We had done good work, and so many were benefiting. That event really helped
them see that.”
Have Fun Together
Every personal-best leadership experience was a combination of hard work and fun. In fact,
students agreed that without the enjoyment and pleasure they experienced interacting with others
on the project or team, they wouldn’t have been able to sustain the intensity and diligence required
to achieve their personal best. People just feel better about the work they are doing when they
enjoy the people they’re working with.7
Having fun sustains productivity because it lightens the load. And it’s not all about parties, games,
festivities, and laughter. Leaders who make addressing challenging issues fun are clearly passionate
about their purpose, what they believe in, and how they pass this on to others. They understand
that the work required to meet the dreams and goals of the group can be difficult and demanding
and that people need a sense of personal well-being to go the distance. And leaders set the tone.
John Gray was a resident assistant (RA) in the Honors Program at his southwestern US college,
where student-created events were held throughout the year to help bring members together as a
community. John was responsible for creating and supervising one of these events, which was
scheduled to take place late in the academic year. Because the school calendar was issued early in
the year, when the details of many events were not finalized, his event was simply listed on the
calendar as “John Gray Day.”
As the date approached, John found himself wondering what kind of event to create. Many fun
events took place at the beginning of the school year, but they tended to have a more educational
focus to get everyone off on the right foot. “I felt like it was time to get together just to have fun,”
John told us. But he still wasn’t clear on what he wanted to plan. Then John noticed that people
were getting curious about what was on the calendar, asking one another, “What is John Gray Day?”
He decided to build on the mystery and have fun with it.
The whole point of these campus events was to bring people together, so John began to hatch
plans simply to call one “John Gray Day.” Don’t think this was a product of arrogance or selfabsorption; it was John’s way to play on people’s curiosity and reward them with a lot of fun. “It
didn’t hurt that John already had a reputation as a warm, funny, engaging guy,” Michelle Madsen,
resident community director, told us. “People were drawn to him. They’d wait outside their rooms
when they knew he was doing rounds just to talk with him and laugh. That’s the kind of appeal he
had, and it meant that people anticipated that John Gray Day would be like him—fun—and it was.”
John Gray Day was a big hit, offering lots of entertaining ways for students to get involved in the
festivities. John assembled a bunch of people’s baby pictures, including some of himself, and held a
contest to “find the real John Gray.” He made copies of black-and-white pictures of himself that
people could color in. There was a chocolate fountain and lots of food from a local restaurant.
“Everyone had a good time,” Michelle told us, “but what I remember the most is the laughter.”
John created a space for people to come together and have fun being themselves and being part of
a community. John Gray Day spoke to the spirit of the Honors Program: members work hard, but
they want to have fun and enjoy each other’s company too.
John Gray Day took on a life of its own and continued for the next three years that John was an RA.
Each year, people got more excited about it, and the energy grew. Students even created a “flat
John Gray” and took it to different locations, even over the summer, to capture their adventures
with John Gray and then post them for their fellow Honors Program classmates to see. John has
graduated and gone on to medical school, but as a student leader he has left a legacy: John Gray
Day continues.
Leaders set the tone. When student leaders openly demonstrate the joy and passion they have for
their organizations, team members, and challenges, as John did, they send a very powerful
message to others that it’s perfectly acceptable for people to make public displays of playfulness
and gratitude. They know that on today’s campuses, group assignments, in and outside the
classroom, are demanding, and that consequently people need to have a sense of personal wellbeing to sustain their commitment. It works for everyone when leaders show enthusiasm and
excitement about the work required.
Be Personally Involved
Our discussion of exemplary student leadership started with Model the Way, and we’ve come full
circle. If you want others to believe in something and behave according to those beliefs, you must
set an example by being personally involved. You must practice what you preach. If you want to
build and maintain a culture of excellence and distinction, then you must be personally involved in
celebrating the actions that contribute to and sustain the culture.
While enrolled in college, Kyle Harvey was coaching a local high school basketball team. At the end
of the first season, he got some feedback from the team and their families that he had been
focusing more on the negatives than the positives during games and practices, and that it was
affecting the players’ enthusiasm and commitment. In his second year of coaching, Kyle was
determined to be more upbeat and focus on developing his players, not only on the basketball court
but also as individuals.
On the first day of practice, Kyle told the team that he intended to be positive and said that he
hoped that the team would do the same, keeping an eye out for the things that their fellow players
did that were helping the team. As a result, Kyle got much more personally involved with the
athletes, and this helped him discover even more positive qualities in his players. He began
recognizing them much more for what they were doing well rather than pointing out what they were
doing wrong—and he did it out loud, for the whole team to hear.
Over time, Kyle observed the team working harder and holding each other to higher standards.
I could tell that when I was celebrating positive contributions, whether or not the individual played in
the game, it boosted that player’s confidence and gave us extremely positive results.
One example was a kid who had really been struggling with the game. Kyle spent time getting to
know this player better, made it a point to be patient, and concentrated on applauding the
improvements in his game and the successes he was having. As a result, the young athlete’s
performance improved dramatically, and subsequently had a huge impact on the success of the
team. This experience proved to Kyle that getting more engaged with his players and recognizing
their individual contributions to the entire team resulted in stronger relationships with each player,
greater individual development, and notable advancement for the entire team.
If y

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