People Matter

If you lead people then you undoubtedly know that people matter. What you may not know is how much they need to know that you know they matter. We humans need to know we matter almost as much as we need air to breath. If we don’t see, without a doubt that we matter then doubt is what we will do. We’ll wonder if we really do matter…to anyone.

You can tell people everyday that they matter and still leave some doubt. If you really want them to know that you know they matter then don’t just tell them, show them.

Showing that someone matters doesn’t take one bit of extra effort, it merely requires a little thoughtfulness and effort that you should already be putting forth.

It’s unlikely that any true leader would intentionally tell their people that they don’t matter, but it happens unintentionally all too often.

For instance, nothing says “you don’t matter” more than picking up a call or texting while you’re talking with someone else.  You know how you feel when someone does that to you…well guess what, most everybody feels that way too. Ignore your cell phone or put it away completely. If you absolutely have to take a call, apologize, explain why and make it quick. 

Be present with whoever it is you’re talking with. Make them feel as if they are the most important person in your world, because in that very moment, they actually are.

Never forget the value of appreciation. Think about a time when you did something nice for someone and they never even acknowledged it with a simple thanks. There are many many times during an average day to recognize someone with a thank you. Many leaders actually think it’s a sign of weakness to thank a person who works for them. It is not, as a matter of fact, Authentic Servant Leaders seldom miss an opportunity to show their appreciation for a job well done. Don’t overlook the power of those two words and how they recognize a person.

Honor every commitment. Everybody knows undependable people. They say they will meet us and they never show. They are constantly canceling lunch plans at the last minute or not confirming their plans to attend until the very last second. The message they send is that their schedule is far more important than yours. If that by chance describes you then you need to change that habit. Show the other person they matter by honoring all commitments that you make in the time frame that you make them. Doing anything else is telling the person that they don’t truly matter.

You will never meet a person who doesn’t matter. It takes only a little forethought to let them know that you know, without a doubt, that they matter to you.

Recognizing the Power of Recognition

People need to know that they matter. They need to know that what they do is noticed. They need to know their efforts, whatever they are, are not in vain. 

Authentic leaders seldom miss the opportunity to recognize their people. When there is no opportunity to recognize their people then they create one. For authentic leaders recognizing others is not a part time job, it is not something to “fit-in” or something to do in their “free-time.”

Authentic leaders are intentional and strategic with their recognition practices. They use recognition to reward, coach, and motivate their people. They know that true recognition goes deeper than the basic “nice job” and that it requires thoughtfulness and meaning.

Authentic leaders provide authentic recognition. Authentic recognition comes in two parts: the “what” or action being recognized and the “why” or how the “what” has made a difference.

Lazy leaders might toss out a nice job while crossing paths with a team member but an authentic leader will invest the time to make the recognition meaningful and lasting. They are very specific as to “what” was a nice job, why it was noticed and how it made a difference. This requires that an authentic leader put thought into the recognition of others. 

Leaders who seldom provide recognition to their people are missing an essential trait of leadership and that is almost certainly being reflected in the commitment level of their followers. Many factors can affect the compensation and benefit levels a leader can offer their people. Still more factors can affect the work environment a leader is able to provide. There are just any number of factors that a leader cannot control. That is why authentic leaders don’t let the controllable become uncontrollable.

Recognizing your people is completely within your control. You can choose daily to affirm their importance or simply let them wonder if they really matter or not. 

When you choose affirmation you choose authentic leadership. You choose to build people and you choose to build your organization. Making an intentional effort to recognize your people encourages them to push themselves. They know what they do matters and that the more they do the more it will matter. 

Authentic leaders know that there is a direct link between recognizing success and the amount of success available to recognize.

Recognize your people today and they will ensure that there is even more success to recognize tomorrow. 

 

The Rome Museum

I had the incredible opportunity to visit the wonderful country of Italy last week. We visited different regions but stayed mostly in Rome. I was thinking of titling this post The Museums of Rome but that doesn’t really convey my intended message. There are indeed many museums in Rome. In fact it seemed to me that many of the buildings were museums. Certainly many buildings held artifacts from history. 

       

But as I walked around with my wife I couldn’t help but notice people looking up, looking over and taking picture upon picture. It was then that it occurred to me that Rome itself was a museum. The whole city, every inch of it!

I was a bit amused when one of our guides would describe a building as “modern” because it was build in the 1800’s. History is all around you in Rome. You can see it but more than that, you can feel it. You can easily imagine the city 100’s or 1000’s of years ago and wonder if the people who built some of the magnificent structures thought that people 100’s of years in the future would still be marveling at them.    

I think I could spend years there and still be amazed at what I saw every single day. Then I started to wonder if that was true. Would I really marvel at the history of the city if I lived there day after day? Do “native” Romans marvel The Coliseum as they drive past it on their way to work each day? Are they in awe of what surrounds them on a daily basis? 

They should because they live in an incredible city. 

My guess is that many of them take their splendid city for granted. That’s not a knock on the friendly people of Rome, that’s a knock on all of us because no matter where we live, too many of us take what we have for granted.

When was the last time you stopped to consider all that you have? When was the last time you stopped to consider the “gift” of the people in your life. When was the last time you told the most important person in your life just how important they are to you? 

What would you miss the most if you woke up tomorrow and had nothing and no one in your life? Are you taking those things and those people for granted? 

Write down what’s important to you. Keep pictures with you of the people who matter most. Don’t let those people and things move to the bottom of your mind. Keep them on top, invest some time each day remembering how and why they matter. Show the people who matter that you don’t take them for granted and appreciate what you have while you have it, for as long as you have it.

Our world is an amazing place. Each of our individual worlds is equally amazing if we’ll just stop long enough to look around and consider our lives without it. 

I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit Rome and Italy but as I return home I’m no less grateful for what I have here. I learned a lot on my trip to Europe, I hope one of the things I’ve learned is to appreciate what I have just a little more. 

The Value of Appreciation

One of the best ways to build strong, positive relationships with friends, relatives, business associates, or customers, is to show appreciation. Going out of our way to tell AND show people how much we appreciate what they have done, regardless of how unimportant or little it might have been, puts us in the minority of people.

I can virtually promise that someone in your life has done something for you that deserves a simple thank you or some small sign of appreciation. Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Call at least one person a day, everyday, to thank him or her for something.

2. Send out five thank-you notes a week. There is power in the written word and a written thank you carries a ton more “weight” than even the hardiest verbal thank you. 

3. Don’t wait to show your appreciation. Do it now. Even the best of intentions isn’t as good as the poorest worded thank you. If someone deserves your appreciation then give it, the sooner the better.

4. Do what you do for others without the expectation of appreciation. When you want something back, that is not a gift – it’s a barter.

When you are appreciative it makes other people feel they want to do more for you even though that was not your agenda. When we fail to show appreciation, it makes others feel they want to do less or nothing for us.

Someone in your life feels a word of appreciation has been earned. Can you guess who it might be?  You have absolutely nothing to lose? A simple thank you doesn’t cost anything, and it can mean so much to people who have gone out of their way for you.

Don’t wait another moment, be thankful and show thanks now!