My good friend John Selzer from Capital Point Financial likes to remind me from time to time that “leaders give and givers get”. It’s his way of saying that giving to others has a way coming back to us in time.
As leaders of businesses, we often feel as if we’re giving all the time. We give unbelievable amounts of time, energy, money, and resources. We also take on amazing feats of personal risk that others have no way of understanding. At times we may feel like we’re giving so much that it actually becomes frustrating. When that happens, we can get wrapped up in a mental state that raises a voice in our heads asking “when is it my turn?”.
It’s at precisely that moment we need to step back and take a clarity break. Disconnect from the business of doing and spend some time intentionally thinking about your life and business from the proper perspective. Remember how fortunate you are to be doing your work and be thankful for all the people who are helping get it done.
In my work with leadership teams, I stress the importance of rewarding and recognizing our people when we observe actions and behaviors that are consistent with our culture and expectations. I often get asked how to best do that. After all, we’re paying them every week, providing benefits and bonuses, and giving them our time, energy, and opportunity. Isn’t that enough? The short answer is no – it’s not enough. Being the social animals that we are, people have an innate need to be connected to the group and recognized as contributors beyond the transactional nature of receiving payment for the work we do.
So, what’s my point in all this? Simply stated, leaders can make their people feel valued as human beings. How? Take a little time to go out of your way and pull someone aside to acknowledge and thank them. Thank them for being part of the team, supporting the group, and contributing to the culture and environment. By doing this, you remind them they are not just an employee. They are a person, someone you value and appreciate just for being themselves. No amount of money or time off can replace that.
In this period of reflecting, it occurs to me that my list of things and people I am grateful for is extensive. It can be easy to let our work and hectic schedules wear us down. When I take a step back and consider how fortunate I am to work with the people and companies that I do, I am humbled and deeply thankful. To all my clients, friends, colleagues, and family members, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your support and trust in my work with you. You all have given me the gift of fulfilling my purpose and I will remain forever grateful for that.
Here’s my challenge to you. Have your assistant put an hour on your calendar in each of the next 3-4 weeks.(You have delegated that work to someone, right?) Make a short list of 5-10 people in your personal or professional life that you haven’t connected to in a while. Get out of your office and go see them. Stop by, say hello and thank them for being part of the team. If you can’t see them personally, call them on the phone. Want extra credit? Hand write them a note and drop it on their desk or in the mail. Please do not send them an e-mail.
I predict you’ll feel a lot different (and better) when you’re done. You may learn a thing or two. You will also be fulfilling your duty as a leader and will see that my friend John is right – leaders give and givers get.