Do You Appreciate the Greatness in Others?

Posted by on Sep 26, 2016 | No Comments

Appreciate Greatness in Others

It’s almost comical. I had written to applaud my amazing experience at Alvin and Friends last weekend, and he had commented to thank me for my piece, and in doing so we both prospered. I find this to be true time and time again. Some of my greatest relationships – both business and personal – have flourished in our mutual-admiration. When we take the time to appreciate the greatness in others, we all benefit.

When we take the time to appreciate the greatness in others, we all benefit.

I noticed this when I went to the post office.  There are places that are known for their exceptional customer service, and the post office is not typically one of them.  I had never had a positive experience going to the post office until I moved to Pelham, NY.  That’s where Constance (aka “Connie”) works.  She makes everyone standing in line feel like the most important person on earth.  She’s always friendly.  Standing in line I watched as she masterfully cared for everyone she served.  Not one person seemed to notice.  No one said “thank you”.  Of course that didn’t stop her, because that’s not why she does it – for the kudos.  She does it because that’s just who she is.  But I have to tell you, when it was my turn at the front of the line, after she went out of her way to hunt down my package from the back room, I couldn’t hold back.  “Connie, ” I said, “You make me want to come to the post office every day.  You are so good at your job.”  She stopped, stared at me bewildered, and then lit up like a Christmas tree – beaming from within.  “Thank you!  Thank you!!!  I love my job.  I surely do.  Thank you!”

It’s what we hunger for most as human beings – to be seen and valued – and not one of us on the planet is exempt from this need.  We forget.

It’s what we hunger for most as human beings – to be seen and valued – and not one of us on the planet is exempt from this need.

We forget to tell our senior leaders that their coaching, mentoring and faith in us has made a difference.  Not wanting to be seen as a suck-up, we say nothing, assuming that someone with their fancy title doesn’t need it, or that they, somehow, instinctively know.  So often, when I’m talking to leaders about recognizing their direct reports, it’s plain to see that most of them hunger for the same.  There’s truth in the saying, “It’s lonely at the top.”

We have oodles of HR recognition programs that systematically reward us for the right behaviors – and that’s great.  But without the sincere human one-heart-to-another-heart-connection, those thanks can feel empty and be easily forgotten (thankfully companies like Globoforce are working to change all that!).

We intentionally mask positive emotions from our vendors to keep them wondering what we think as a negotiation strategy, and squander the opportunity for forging a relationship that leads them to move mountains on our behalf.

We forget to tell the people in our lives who have back-burnered their careers to care for young children or elderly parents, or sick friends, that what they’re doing is extraordinary.  That the world needs people with huge hearts who care for those most in need.  They, like Connie, don’t do it for the kudos, but desperately need to know that they are valued.

I’m not suggesting that just showing up in life is medal-worthy and that we lavish our praise injudiciously on the world (yes, I realize that feeding the recognition-junkies in the wild could potentially be dangerous).  But let’s not let our concern for giving “big heads” or “setting precedent” get in our way of making a real impact.  On someone’s life.

People need to know when they hit the mark.  People need to know how their actions make a difference.   Don’t make them guess.

People need to know when they hit the mark.  People need to know how their actions make a difference.   Don’t make them guess.

Your colleagues, the checker at the grocery store, your kids’ teachers, the guy who cleans the office, the bus driver, your clients, your venders, your friends, your Tweeps, the post office lady, your family, the woman who wrote a great HBR article you read on Linkedin, and even the CEO – everyone needs to know they matter.  Don’t assume that your paycheck or “like” communicates that.  Notice.  Appreciate.  Tell them.

Everyone needs to know they matter.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate.  I’ve surrounded myself with people who are gifted in this way.  They make me want to be better.  To be worthy of what they see in me.  They bridge my confidence when it is low and give me strength to keep going when things feel hard.  They have made a difference in my life.  They have changed me.

Because when we let someone know that they hit the mark, that what they do matters, it can change their life.  People live into the greatness we see in them.

And if you ask me, that makes life better for all of us.

©OnStage Leadership, 2016

If you found this helpful, interesting, thought-provoking, or inspiring please “recommend”, “Like” and share.  It is only through your generosity that we can reach those who may find it valuable too.  My sincere thanks.  Kimberly

Could you or someone on your team benefit from greater confidence, ease of presenting, and better leadership skills?   OnStage Leadership is coming to Dallas on October 20th (full, wait-list only),  and NYC on November 7th;  please notify us of your interest.  Sessions are filled on a first-come basis and limited to 12 participants.

KimberKimberly-Davis-Headshot-20142ly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop.  Click here to read what people are saying!  If you’re interested in more information, or in having Kimberly come speak to your group on topics around Authentic Leadership, Influence, Presence, Engagement, Purpose in the workplace, Presentation Skills, or being BRAVE at work, we’d love to hear from you!

If you haven’t had a chance, check out my recent Tedx talk  or my interview with Alise Cortez on Voice of America’s Working on Purpose Channel:  Bringing Our True and Best Selves to Work:  Cultivating Authentic Leadership with Kimberly Davis.

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