We Affect Other People With Almost Everything We Do


      When I was 11,  I cut the grass in my family’s yard all by myself for the first time. Tired and sweaty, I was so proud. A family friend drove into the driveway just as I was finishing. His first words out of the car were “You missed a spot behind the shrubs.” I was crushed. Why hadn’t he noticed the rest of the four acres that I had completed correctly with so much sweat and effort? I suppose his eye was trained to look for the imperfect spot. I never wanted to cut the grass again.  
       Most of us know the power of other people’s approval or disapproval in motivating us to keep trying. Or to feel like throwing in the towel. A smile and a comment showing that someone values our efforts will keep us going for a long time.  
       Joanna tells about a week when her supervisor was out of town; she had been working through lunches and until 7:00 P.M. every night to meet department deadlines. She was feeling burned out, she said, when Wayne, a co-worker, came and stood for a minute at her cubicle door one evening, watching her work. “You work hard,” he quietly stated, and then turned back to his work. 
       “These three words kept me going for three more days,” breathed Joanna. Wayne is a man who doesn’t mince words, so I was quite positive that his comment was genuine. In my boss’s absence, someone recognized my work. In the past we’ve expected managers and supervisors to provide the positive recognition for the people who work for them. Or worse, we’ve depended on pay raises, end-of-project celebrations, or annual appraisals to motivate people. 
      “There’s nothing wrong with any of the things listed above,” Dr. Aubrey Daniels notes. “They’re just too little, too late." Many of us who are non-supervisors are ready and willing to take more of a leadership role in managing our own careers and work experiences. We want to take positive steps to support the good performance of our teammates, all in the name of creating the best products, the best customer service, and a good place to work. 
        Everyone likes to get recognition.
        When my co-worker, like Wayne in the story above, notices what I do, I’ll make double sure I keep doing it.