© 2009 Marica

031 – Making someone’s day

The need to feel valued at work has popped up a number of times in the last few days. I decided there was a message here I needed to listen to (and possibly write about).

It all began when I was reading a post by Mark Schenk in the Anecdote blog on the topic of “Worthwhile Work“. Schenk points out that managers significantly influence whether or not a person considers their work as being worthwhile. Let’s face it all of us need feedback to reinforce what we may intuitively know but need to hear spoken or see it written. We are not robots. We are thinking, feeling human beings and we spend a lot of hours in our day at work.

I was interested in what Schenk had to say so I read on …

Managers need to be mindful that a key part of their role is to build engagement and to create more interactions like this one…

My brand new manager (a young up-and-comer) rang me on Friday afternoon as I was driving home. He said “I’m just ringing to let you know how much I value what you do. You regularly top the sales results and have been doing that for years. I wanted to make sure you knew that what you do is noticed and how much it is appreciated. Have a great weekend.” I had to pull over to the side of the road. In the past eleven years, through three previous managers, no-one had ever said anything like that to me before. I started crying…

Source: Mark Schenk, 14 August 09, Worthwhile Work

After reading this I thought about my own manager. I wondered if anyone had told her that they valued her and all she does on our behalf. In my one on one meeting with her yesterday I decided to thank her and let her know how much I appreciated her support. I could see that she was moved by my open and genuine expression of thanks.

Then this morning, after being locked away in another room for three hours working on a project, I found a surprise awaiting me when I returned to my desk. Sitting there was a box of tissues (I had run out and I kept forgetting to bring a box from home). Placed carefully on top of the box was a real Cymbidium Orchid. The funny thing is that the art work on the tissue box included images of exactly the same coloured orchid.

I was really moved by this kind gesture and the thought that had gone behind it. I guessed immediately who had put the tissue box and the orchid there – a young woman whom I enjoy working with and who reports to me. Yes, I am her manager and this simple gesture said so much to me about how she appreciates what I do for her.

All too often people go through their working days generally unaware of those around them. I have seen people take one another for granted and not pick up on the cues someone is sending. I am always surprised by the things others don’t notice when to me they are so obvious, especially when someone is struggling or upset and trying to hide it. More often than not minimal communication occurs and even though we are surrounded by people the feeling of being alone can creep up unexpectedly.

It is really simple to change this situation by intentionally making someone’s day. Try smiling and genuinely trying to connect with others, even strangers. Thank someone for something they have done for you. If you can’t do it in person write them a note or an email. The most important things is to tell them what their action meant to you. Take the time to listen to someone who needs a sounding board. Don’t think about what you’re going to say or do but listen with your whole being and really connect with the person and where they’re at. Do something unexpected for someone else. It could be as simple as making them a drink or giving them some of your time.

We need to support each other on this journey we call life. Work shouldn’t be an alien environment. Caring is not being weak, it is being human.

Tomorrow is a fresh new day. I intend to celebrate it by intentionally making someone’s day. I experienced the joy this brought me today.

11. Every day do something for someone else.
13. Every day be better than you were the day before.
15. Every day make a difference to yourself and others.