On the Beauty and Joy of Recognition

It was a few minutes after 7 AM when I received a phone call from a senior official at the University. There was a bright, cheery and enthusiastic voice that greeted me. She shared a kind and humbling recognition that a student’s parent had shared her about me. Despite an incredibly busy schedule for her, then and in the day ahead, it was important to her to call me personally and congratulate me and recognize my work and the value I brought to a student. What a beautiful and meaningful start to my day – a call from a great leader who cares about those whom she serves, a simple action that made my day.

Would that every great leader adopted a similar practice of taking time out during the day to recognize someone – for the value they bring to an organization, their contribution to a team or simply the enthusiasm and joy they bring to the people they touch. Mother Teresa captures the value and need for recognition saying: “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than bread.” William James wrote: “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

May your days begin with messages of recognition and thanks to those whom you serve. This simple act of giving has the joyous power and impact of making someone’s day and, even beyond, incredible. May we remember always the words of Susan Heathfield: “Recognition is not a scarce resource. You can’t use it up or run out of it.” Today, every day, make someone’s day… and may they make yours. Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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One Response to On the Beauty and Joy of Recognition

  1. Jack Beach says:

    First of all Mike, you have rightfully earned the appreciation of many and certainly mine. Each week I look forward to your blog in which you nourish my thinking and uplift my spirits. You start my week on a high note. You have made, and continue to make, a very positive difference in my life—and I am only one among many. So, thank you.

    Leadership requires an understanding of human nature and as you point out, an essential awareness is the depth of our “craving to be appreciated.” Sadly, although “recognition is not a scared resource,” it is one that is drawn on all too rarely.

    In our performance-oriented world, with its laser focus on results, finding fault is not difficult, and sometimes people in leadership positions seem to justify their status by showing others how what they have done could have been even better. In spite of valiant efforts on the part of employees, all too often, bosses—and I say “bosses,” not “leaders”—send people away feeling deflated, less confident, and sapped of their energy. People should always leave feeling more capable of contributing—even if mistakes need to be corrected. They need to feel valued and appreciated.

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