Monday, December 11, 2006

Tenets of Appreciation

What makes you feel appreciated? Do you know your Love Languages (read: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman)?

Sometimes when I am out and about in public, I can't help but overhear the conversations of those around me. It's not that I'm intentionally eavesdropping (well, most of the time), it is just that I really like to pay attention to what is going on around me. During one snooping session in an airport recently I noticed a couple discussing her specific position within the company for whom I presume they both must work. At first it simply sounded like the same old whining you've come to expect always accompanying our American sense of entitlement.

As I listened with one ear, reading a paper out of one eye, the phrases started to become misaligned with how people normally register their dissatisfaction. It made me want to know more about why we she wasn't feeling particularly motivated or appreciated even as her friend effused praise on her obvious contributions to him and others in their workplace. If he was so readily able to supply evidence of her worth, why was she questioning her place? I wondered if her boss was aware? If she worked for me, would I have been aware? As is typically the case, I abandoned my attentiveness choosing instead to pursue something of more immediate self-interest. Namely, what did I think about her predicament? What would I do in her shoes, her friends sneakers, her team leaders clogs. (Okay, they may not have been clogs, but who knows.)

In dissecting the situation I had stealthily stumbled upon, I was reminded of some of the guiding principles in my own philosophy on motivation, personal career choices, and leadership.
I have to believe that I am relevant, valuable, and have an impact.
I will perceive this through the respect they accord, and the riches they afford.
Otherwise, it is as the author said, "[S]he's just not that into you."
These simple words guide my thinking whenever I begin to question my place and position. When responsible for the success of those working with me, I try and recall these principles and apply them to the value proposition I create for them.

What I find most useful about such a simple set of tenets, is that they can be applied regardless of the specific drivers and motivators of each individual. The indicators and behaviors that will show value and impact may be different from person to person, but their existence will be consistent. One mans riches take shape in cash, another in experiences, and still a third in freedoms.

Regardless of what the specific circumstances are, it can be very telling to ask yourself how you are measuring up? Are getting what you need? Are you making sure the people you are responsible for are getting what they need?

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