He Forgot How Much He Mattered
Their faces dropped when Doug walked past the cash registers, around the corner, and out of sight. He carried a breakfast sandwich in his right hand. Moments before he’d said to me, “Look at this.”
We were having coffee and chatting in one of his franchise restaurants. My heart sank. It looked fine to me, but Doug has high standards.
I find Doug affirming and kind. But, I’ve also seen him frustrated when something isn’t right. He doesn’t hesitate to tell you what he thinks, either way.
A wave of distressed looks followed him as he walked to the back. It didn’t matter that he was smiling. Employees literally turned to watch. Then, quickly, they returned to their jobs, still worried, wondering who was going to “get” it. But, they hadn’t heard what I heard.
“Look at this,” had been followed with, “It’s perfect.” My worry turned to relief. But, the kitchen crew hadn’t heard anything. All they saw was the owner, holding a sandwich, walking to the kitchen.
Later, while Doug ate the sandwich, I asked, “What do you think happened when you walked to the back carrying that sandwich?” Instantly, he knew.
Appreciation is telling someone they’re doing a good job. Recognition includes letting others know the same thing.
Doug realized that he could have stopped at the front counter, showed them the sandwich, and said, “Look at this. It’s perfect.” Then continuing to the back, he could have giving the face to face appreciation he loves dispensing.
Doug turned, as we headed out the door, and said, “Great seeing you Dan. Have a good day. I’ve got to talk with our crew.”
Recognition is telling others
about the good someone else has done.
What are some useful recognition strategies or systems?
What are the dangers of giving recognition?
Well, the best example I can give for this Dan is to encourage you and everyone else to see this ideal practiced with better results than any I have ever seen.
Check out http://www.barrywehmiller.com
I feel recognition and caring about their most important asset is what they do best and better than any company on earth.
Down side of giving recognition, do not believe there is a downside to true giving so it just comes down to is it true giving, giving with no thought of return OR disguised self-centeredness, giving to be noticed and get a warm embrace for being such a grand person.
That is a LOAD of selfish WHOOEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a great day! Hope every Leader/person today GETS IT. Barry Wehmiller means it when they say, “We Build Great People to do Extraordinary Things”.
What are you doing with people today?
SP back to my present!
Thanks for extending the conversation, Scott.
Great post again, Dan. And I agree with Scott P in that I feel there is no downside to recognition when given for real accomplishments — not in some contrived way. Even if recognition goes more often to one person than another, I believe the genuine gesture of a boss/manager/leader giving truly-earned recognition to that one person helps raise everyone’s level of play.
I am currently rereading Kouzes and Pozner’s Encouraging the Heart and love their discussion on recognition, particularly the explanation the recognize literally means “to know again.” Powerful! Absolutely no downside in my mind either to remind your people when the opportunity presents itself that you see them, that you know who they are and what they do, and that they and their contributions matter. Great post! Thanks.
Hi Marcia, seems we agree recognition is powerful, yep?
So how about we GO FIND these opportunities as opposed to waiting till the opportunity presents itself.
Sounds like a plan to me, how about you?
SP back to FINDING Opportunities to Recognize Greatness in Others.
You are so right!!! Excellent point, taken. Thanks!
Marcia I have found some things written are actually true!!!! Some other stuff, not so much!!!
One thing in particular is “most people live lives of quiet desperation”.
If I KNOW this to be true then one thing I can to have a GREAT day everyday is know the overwhelming majority of people I see are basically miserable!!!
Crisis in Chinese means hidden opportunity!!!!
So you mean I have a chance??? (Dumb and Dumber)
So practically every person I run into is a chance to be a bright spot in that persons life even if only briefly!!
So I got lots and lots of opportunities every day to sincerely brighten other people’s day!!
I have found moments of spectacular unexpected kindness are met with varied responses!
Some surprise and shock but mostly deep thanks!
So on my to do list, to be list, is a regular practitioner of spectacular unexpected kindness towards those living quietly desperate.
Don’t think most get why I take time and effort to make such a big deal about them, most think I am a little bit off!!! Probably right!!!
But at the end of the day like those baby turtles the kid helped to the ocean!!!
Oh sure might not be able to brighten all their days!!! But that last one I just left….seemed to make a difference to them!!
Wow, excellent point and an agreement from Scott Butler!!!!
Who knew what a great day in LeadershipFreak land I had waiting in me when I woke up???
Thanks, take care now go see how ya feel when you brighten up a quietly desperate person!! Go find them, in some weird way they are waiting on you!!! If not YOU, who?
Bet ya both feel really great!!!
SP back to Now!!!
Kouzes and Posner are awesome. Their five functions of leadership have stood the test of time.
1. Model the way
2. Inspire shared vision
3. Challenge the process
4. Enable people to act
5. Encourage the heart
Jack Welch said when you see someone doing something right, go crazy.
To me the biggest danger of appreciation is the style liked by the receiver. After reading the five languages of appreciation I came to understand why I didn’t care much for bonuses or salary raises as a method of appreciation.
Another hazard is the public vs private preference. Some people just don’t want to be recognized publicly. We tend to think everyone wants to be bragged about but sometimes that backfires.
You remind us that our way isn’t always the best way when it comes to giving recognition.
You are so right, everyone isn’t an extrovert who loves to be patted on the back in public.
The CrazyPanamanian has it correct, “Some people just don’t want to be recognized publicly. We tend to think everyone wants to be bragged about but sometimes that backfires.”
Too many managers are wrapped up in their own heads to the point they don’t know or they don’t care what their employees want or need.
Employees quickly learn when smoke is being blown their way. Unearned recognition and appreciation helps no one. Do not spread it around like fertilizer hoping your employees will sprout into good employees.
“Wrapped in our own heads” OUCH. … I find it’s a conscious decision to get out of my head or perhaps more importantly, to get into another head – perspective.
I really like your blog when it is in story form. Thanks and have a good day.
Thanks for the feedback.
Stories are a powerful thing. I love them too!
Reblogged this on IAm Synt and commented:
“Recognition is telling othersabout the good someone else has done.” Dan Rockwell
I agree with several of the comments above. It is true that many folks do not wish to be recognized publicly. Still, it is important to find a way to do it in all walks of life: business, volunteer, family. It is positive reinforcement for desired behaviors, but it also resets the bar at a higher notch for everyone. On one large project, I brought in a big rock, almost nine inches across. Nearly every week, someone on this large team would do something outstanding. They would become Rock Star of the week. They would have to draw a small star on the rock with a colored Sharpie and put their initials under the star. Then we would take a picture of them with the rock for the weekly status report. It was dumb, and nearly everybody groaned when we showed up at their desk, but we also had a lot of fun with it over time and it did keep morale up. By the end of the project, the rock looked pretty cool.
Great story, Dan. Thanks.
Your example, Dan, reminds me how important practice, pace, and timing are in music and in leading. (mad props to Max DePree-Leadership Jazz). It appears while ‘Doug’ may have been reading the sheet music, he was a beat or two off.
The great part of recognizing excellence (not sure it was perfection), is, while it’s biggest impact is ‘in the moment’ (recognition has not expiration date, just diminishing returns over time), Doug knew he still had time to give props and acknowledge great work.
That opportunity was still there and more…as he backpedals and owns his own humanness to his team (by apologizing) about getting so wrapped up in excellence he failed to recognize those who made it happen. He shows it takes a team to do great work, he shows that he is owning failure as part of learning, that no leader is ever perfect, and shows how vital it is to recognize peoples’ engagement. How powerful is that!
And as others have noted (as did DePree), the prep work the leader/musician must do is knowing who enjoys the spotlight, who loves just being part of the band, and who wants recognition behind the curtain. And then you practice, practice, practice…
The discussion started by Crazypanamanian is very important. I always dig in and find out if people on my staff value private or public compliments more. I do think there is an appreciation/recognition language. It comes across more sincere to some if it is private. Me, I value public recognition more. I’m a public figure and have learned my wife doesn’t want any spotlight or recognition, but my private words of appreciation go far with her. I have some on my staff the same way. This is not a black and white issue though, there are combinations of preferred apprec/recog just like we all have a unique blend of Introvert/Extrovert. We all want the best ROI, choose the right language at the right time.
Everyone like to be recognized and or appreciated. Recognition has to be tailored to the individual. I’ve learned its easier to just ask a person how they want be recognized versus assuming. There is one downside to recognition…if the person being recognized is truely unworthy. If they are unworthy everyone knows it and it’s a waste of time.
Love the story Dan. The way we approach others has an impact that can be different from what we wanted relayed.
One way to show recognition, especially for a business like your friend owns, might be to bring the kitchen staff out to the floor and make a big deal about the great job they’re doing. I mean, how cool would it be to have the owner showing you off?
How you deliver recognition is as important as actually giving the recognition. During my career in the Air Force, we had formal and informal ways of doing this. When I was in command of units I found that:
1) The fact that I took the time to recognize someone really meant a lot
2) When I did it in front of co-workers it was even more powerful
3) It was usually best that I coordinated with supervisors beforehand to make sure I didn’t step on any landmines in terms of interpersonal dynamics
4) A sincere word could lift someone’s morale for days
As a leader, I was always aware of being in a fishbowl or glass house. People were always looking at you, making judgments about your mood and what not. So you really had to be on top of your game from an emotional intelligence standpoint.
What you did, how you did it, and what you said all mattered immensely to those you led.
I completely agree with Joe ~ his awareness and sensitivity to how he managed the formal and informal manner of recognising the men/women under his command ~ speaks volumes as a leader! Kudos to you Joe. It really is not a difficult act to carry out…Joe, you are obviously a self confident person who knows how important it is to validate your fellow workers! It has a positive and long~lasting effect on an employee to recognise their hard work and effort. This doesn’t have to be a public announcement. As a leader Joe I am sure you were not only chosen for this position through hard work and dedication, but as a result of knowing your own worth. This, you have passed onto your fellow employees who will follow your good example.
Keep the compliments and validations flowing….