Lessons We Learn….(About Recognition….)

“I’ve learned that a pat on the back and a sincere ‘You’re doing a great job’ can make someone’s day.”

While this lesson can be applied to all of life and people we interact with daily, our families, our friends, people we meet in passing, reading this observation took me back to my days working in middle management in the healthcare industry.  Through the years I worked for many managers who did not get this concept and because they seemed unable to acknowledge the importance of recognition, they were minimally effective leaders.  Though I talk about managers in the next several paragraphs, it can really be applied to interactions with others in our lives.

Some managers lead by intimidation; a ‘do it or else’ style that does little to inspire others.  This type of leadership wears people down and creates huge dissatisfaction amongst the worker bees.  Doing your work in a way that is dictated to you because you fear the repercussions is draining and un-fulfilling.  (Any tyrant parents out there?)

Then you have the micromanager!  This is the leader who, though frequently has little awareness of the job that needs to be done, focuses in on the minutia of the tasks at hand.  Emphasis is often put on things that should not be the top priority and this type of manager just can’t keep their hands out of the process.  They feel that they have to be in control of all aspects of the work that is to be accomplished because without them, how could you possibly handle things on your own??  (How about parents meddling in their grown children’s lives?)

There are many managers that simply don’t have a clue about how to manage others.  They are put into a management position without any training and expected to inspire and lead others.  Being a good worker bee does not qualify you as a leader.  Leadership skills can be developed but somebody without the natural skill set will require the attention of somebody who does have it to bring them along.  (Can you say ‘new Mom’?)

Then there is the ‘manager’ that does little at all.  They revel in the title, but get all the worker bees to do the lion’s share of the work.  They co-opt ideas generated by others and present them as their own.  He/she has mastered the skill of appearing busy and sounding authoritative but does little to contribute to the effort.  (I’m sure you also have one of these people in your life…..)

In a study conducted by the Labor Relations Institute of NY in 1946, the results of which have been consistently reproduced numerous times since then, the top 3 things that employees say are most important to them are:  1.  Full appreciation for work done; 2.  Feeling ‘in’ on things; and 3.  Sympathetic help on personal problems.

Compare that now to what managers THINK employees think is most important:

1.  Good wages; 2.  Job security; and 3.  Promotion/growth opportunities.

To be sure these things also place on the top 10 list for employees as well, but it turns out that the pat on the back and a genuine ‘You’re doing a great job’, beat them out!

Good leaders recognize the people who work for them; acknowledging when they have done a good job or offered a good idea.  They realize that they can’t do it all on their own.  They ask for input and try to implement the good ideas and explain when an idea can’t be used.  They realize that employees don’t leave all of their baggage and other responsibilities at the curb when they come in to work and that the other things in their lives affect them as employees.

All people respond to feeling appreciated and included.  And most of us like it when somebody can lend a sympathetic ear when we are having a personal challenge in our lives; a non-judgmental, ‘How can we help you with this?’ approach.  We may not take the help, but it makes us feel good to have it offered.

Somebody in your life could use that pat on the back today; recognition for something they did or being asked for their idea or opinion about something important.  How simple would it be to make their day with a genuine compliment?

On the journey with you…….Kathy

(Quote:  Age 49- The Complete Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)

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