Gratitude is the Key Element for Leadership Influence

The state fair has come to Texas this month and I am reminded of the many experiences growing up when the art of getting the prize sometimes can be very costly. Winning the big teddy bear at the state fair required you to flip a quarter and land it on a glass plate on top of the teddy bear head. Walking out with a big teddy bear was a sign that you mastered the task and were rewarded with something that everyone noticed as you walked around. They didn’t know I spent three times the value of the bear to win it.

Winning the Big One

Grown men will try to catch baseballs bare handed in MLB baseball parks so they can hand it to their waiting child in the next seat.

What are the important lessons we can learn from these two examples? All of us have the desire to do our work or a simple task in a way that others notice. A desire for recognition for our hard work or contribution.

In fact, the greatest job satisfaction comes from employees is not centered around money but it is the feeling that their work matters and is respected by the leadership. This is why we all spent lots of quarters to win that teddy bear. Most managers just don’t realize how important the teddy bear pay-off can be in motivation. The smallest form of recognition can give a huge boost to morale.

The tough economy makes it difficult to give regular salary jumps so seeking new ways to show your appreciation is critical for employee retention. If you don’t do – other places will. Can you afford not to take time to honor great work?

Example: This week our enrollment services division decided to pay special recognition to Dominga who is our early morning cleaning employee. She is one of the most hard working individuals I know. I have never seen her not working when she is there. She starts early in the morning so our offices are clean when we get to work at 8 am.

Dominga Day

We declare a recent Friday – “Dominga Day” and ask for donations from the entire staff to show her our appreciation. The donation response was very strong and others ideas just kept coming before it was done – so we decorated the conference room, made Dominga Day buttons, everyone brought food in and we surprised her. Her boss and his supervisor even came to see her be honored. She was shocked to see the room full of people who really appreciated her contribution. She was even more surprised to when she opened the card. Little things do matter in our mutual work.

Who do you need to thank this week? You will be glad you did! We can never over do it when it comes to showing people that their work matters!

Running to Win!…GTR

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2 thoughts on “Gratitude is the Key Element for Leadership Influence

  1. I really enjoy the your blog, Gary. Keep it coming. Even in the busy times, it is good to stop, read and re-evaluate where you are and what you do as an administrator. You are a great mentor!!

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