208-376-1701 bryan@bryanyager.com
He Knows My Name!

First a quote: “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”—Malcolm S. Forbes.
Thanks to all who took time to drop me a note regarding last week’s article, “Made in the Shade!”  I was a bit surprised that article drew so many positive comments as a rerun from April 2018. My mom would have been pleased by the favorable responses; I am confident she is smiling from somewhere above.

This week, I go back to “leadership lessons I learned from my mother” one more time.

Mom would often say, “Remember to be grateful for the ‘little people,’ the unimportant people.”   That is how she saw herself, as an unimportant “little person” (a dishwasher for almost 25 years in an assisted living facility) contrasting herself to people she perceived as more important, i.e., managers, business owners, hospital administrators, doctors, lawyers, people she described as company big-shots, and the like.

Of course, that is not how any of her six children saw her. She was certainly important in our eyes. We are today, who we are, largely because of the values instilled in us since early childhood by our parents.

Mom taught us to be grateful for those who serve others, especially those doing thankless work and jobs perceived by many to be menial or unimportant. Her lessons of gratitude are the reason I go out of my way today to thank janitors in airport restrooms, write personal thank you notes on my credit card receipts for restaurant servers, and leave tips and notes of gratitude for hotel room attendants. Mom taught us to express gratitude to those who make our lives better, in ways both big and small.

Now, as an example, I share a short story related to today’s feature quote above.

I facilitate leadership development workshops for a large manufacturing company in another state. I have met the CEO of that company a handful of times. I have been impressed with his style, presence, approach to leadership, and who he is as a person.

Early one morning, before a workshop I was doing for that company in a neighboring town, I went to a favorite coffee house for my morning beverage.

Who walks in? You guessed it, that CEO. Seeing him walk through the door, my mind raced desperately searching for his name somewhere in my memory bank. This chance meeting was unexpected, miles from their company offices, out of context and, I hadn’t had my morning caffeine yet.

Without hesitation, he said, “Good morning Bryan, I didn’t expect to run into you this morning. What brings you to this part of the country?”

“Good morning Chris,” I responded. (Thank goodness, his name came to me in the nick of time.) “I’m facilitating a leadership development workshop today at a conference center down the street.”

He offered to buy my coffee and greeted two or three of the baristas by name, asking one about her family. While waiting for our drinks, another customer entered the store and the CEO greeted him by name as well and inquired about his wife’s battle with cancer. His morning greetings were not a casual, “How are you?” uttered out of habit as a thoughtless and uncaring social nicety. He knew their names. He listened. He cared. He valued each of them as people. His interest was authentic, genuine, and readily apparent.

It was easy for me to understand why this man is so well-respected, both inside and outside, their global company of more than 10,000 employees worldwide. He clearly values, and appreciates, people regardless of their station in life, or ability to do anything more than make his morning a tad more pleasant with a smile and morning tea.

In bullet-point fashion, here are several “leadership lesson take-aways” for your consideration this week:

  1. As leaders, we are always on stage, even when we are not on stage, in coffee shops, on the street, at sporting events, or in our cars. People are always watching our behavior. 
  2. People are almost always assessing (even if subconsciously) how much they trust you as a person and as a leader. One of the indicators used to determine if you can be trusted, is by watching how you treat others, especially those who can do nothing for you. 
  3. There is no comparison between leaders who value others because it is the right thing to do, and those who value others for selfish reasons; because of how others might be of value to them. I repeat, no comparison. 
  4. Believe me when I say, “The people who can help you most, pay attention to how you treat those who can help you least.”

How will you love, live, or lead differently, or better, this coming week? Here are several ideas:

  • Send a handwritten thank you note to people, departments, or groups you or your organization would be lost without, i.e., IT Departments, payroll, night shift teams, remote workers, currently furloughed workers, your mail carrier, streets and sanitation workers, grocery store clerks, baristas, and perhaps even dishwashers (miss you Mom) 
  • Take a note card with you the next time you go to a restaurant, write a note of appreciation for the kitchen staff, and ask your server to deliver it on your behalf. 
  • I propose trying an experiment this week; rather than offering a habitual, and almost mindless “thank you” to people this week, instead, include their name and try these words: “I appreciate you (insert their name here), thank you for what you do, and for making a positive difference in the lives of others.” 

    You will be amazed by the reaction to those few additional words. Most of us crave being appreciated for what we do and who we are. 

  • Notice, and recognize, two people per day that you tend to pass by without notice all too frequently. Notice the unnoticed and appreciate the under-appreciated.

How I appreciate you!

Thanks for reading, liking, and/or sharing. Have a good week.

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Bryan Yager
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success?

Bonus Quotes:

  • “The person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.” – Unknown 
  • “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” – Mark Twain 
  • “Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” – Margaret Cousins 
  • “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” – Voltaire 
  • “Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr. 
  • “When eating fruit, remember the one who planted the tree.” – Vietnamese Proverb 
  • “No duty is more urgent than giving thanks.” – James Allen 
  • “Feeling appreciated is one of the most important needs that people have. When you share with someone your appreciation and gratitude, they will not forget you. Appreciation will return to you many times.” – Steve Brunkhorst