Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
Iwas once asked to help an underperforming senior manager ‘get back on track'. In her boss's words, ‘She is a real talent and has shown in the past that she can meet goals. But somehow in the last three months she is just off her game and I cannot seem to get her to open up about why.'
When I met the senior manager and discussed it with her, I very quickly realised the issue. She was ashamed to admit that she was just not receiving enough appreciation or recognition for the work she had been delivering, and the wind had gone out of her sails. ‘I should be beyond this,' she said. ‘High-performing people don't need praise, for goodness' sakes!'
I responded, ‘It's not that you need praise. I think it's a deeper issue for you. It seems like you are feeling that your work is not making a positive difference, and the absence of feedback is heightening the sense that your work is meaningless.' I told her that these feelings were normal — the data shows just how prevalent they are in the corporate world. We need to feel our work matters. Like it or not, an essential part of leadership is to let people know they are important and appreciated, as well as how they are making a difference.
Every person in every position is doing work that matters. They matter. But too often they don't know how much they matter because ...