Each of us has the ability to pump up another person’s self-esteem or scar it.
A lot goes into developing and maintaining pride in ourselves, especially considering our personal and situational obstacles.
So we need to be caring.
Make others matter.
Most of us crave positive feedback. We want to know in concrete ways that our bosses and coworkers:
- respect our talents, good intentions, and integrity
- recognize the contributions we make to the success of the team and company
- appreciate our efforts, kindnesses, and selflessness
Others want what we want. The question is: “Are we giving it?”
- To everyone?
- Just to people we like or who are like us?
- To those we feel we need to “repay”?
The esteem we show to others is good for us. It’s how we create a bond that:
- builds dependable relationships
- helps coworkers try harder
- develops confidence to overcome challenges
- buoys up courage to take risks
- creates community
In all likelihood, the esteem we show to others comes back to us in subtle and sometimes surprising ways.
Respect, recognition, and appreciation are equalizers. They say to the recipient, “I value you” for your:
- skills and work quality
- honesty and integrity
- kindness and generosity
- dependability and decency
Value is personal not positional.
None of us can do every job that needs to be done. Just look around where you live and count the number of things you can’t build, fix, or solve.
Then look around your company and count the number of jobs you aren’t qualified to do from the top of the organization chart to the bottom.
The only way all of us can live the lives we want is for everyone around us to do their jobs well. For that we all need to express our gratitude.
Consider the way you engage with craftsmen you hire at work or at home. Assess the amount of effort you put into expressing respect for their expertise, recognition of the challenges of the work, and appreciation for the outcome.
In my experience, a unique alliance forms, a strategic partnership, and shared engagement in the work where the results exceed the expectations of you both.
I recently accumulated a pretty long list of big and small jobs long overdue at my farm where the buildings were built from 1780 to 1900. The jobs ranged from releasing a frozen pocket door in the house to replacing light fixtures in the barn; from painting and repairing a large shed to replacing slates with shingles in the back of the house. There was other “little” stuff too.
Kirk, the expert in charge, is a one-time home builder, an inventor, and one of the most well-read people know. He took on my work solo because I was his last client in PA before moving to the mid-west.
There was nothing about this work that was easy. At every turn there were problem-solving challenges and surprises. It required:
- electrical work and some plumbing
- remodeling and construction
- roofing, painting, and repair
Kirk says what he thinks, never sugar-coating anything. And he’s not a big giver or receiver of compliments. But he accepted my communicated regard for his expertise and willingness to help when needed.
I had been his customer before, so he knew that I respected him. Ultimately, he told me that he wouldn’t have taken on this wild array of jobs for anyone else. That was a gift for my self-esteem.
It was not about what I was paying him: It was about my respect, recognition, and appreciation.
As you sow…
Treating people well is about recognizing their value and making that known. At work it’s easy to see our coworkers as just another pair of hands. Any time you treat others in a way that says, “You matter,” you are giving them a priceless gift which will, in time, come back to you.
Photo by woodleywonderworks via Photoree