“If I learned anything from Dirty Jobs, it’s this: the people we rely upon most are the same people we most often take for granted.”    —Mike Rowe

Who in your company (including you) has never, ever felt under-appreciated? 

As a leader in your workplace, your community, and/or your family, an excellent place to start showing up as a leader is to stand in the space of appreciation. 

Everyone needs to feel appreciated. Mike Rowe may find some of the least appreciated people to feature, but no matter what one’s role is in life, a deep need is filled when one’s efforts are noticed and respected.

There are thousands of ways to “show appreciation,” but many of them are hollow. When you see the same impersonal “gift card” handed out to one employee or the next, as an acknowledgment of some accomplishment, a work anniversary, or perfect attendance… well, the Starbucks card may have a cup of coffee drawn on it, but the plastic  has no rich aroma, no satisfying and unique taste of roasted coffee. It’s a symbol, but no substitute for heartfelt recognition. Where’s the love? 

Does this question remind you of some ancient and timeless wisdom? 

1 Corinthians 13:1  (NIV)  If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 

Take a page from Mike Rowe’s super successful TV series, Dirty Jobs. (If you have not seen the show, make this an urgent and important to-do.) Think about a person’s job, not just their job title.

Mike not only shows viewers the inside story and the job challenges most of us will never have, he demonstrates completely and convincingly his appreciation for each person in each and every job he learns about and shares with millions of people. 

What is present in every example are three things:1) People who perform incredibly difficult, dangerous, or harsh forms of work with competence vs. complaint; 2) Processes, materials, and highly-specialized systems we mere mortals are clueless about (and hence have no appreciation for); and 3) Dignity—the kind of respect deserved by each of the workplace people he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with.

To learn to appreciate someone for their job, you need to get shoulder-to-shoulder with them. If not physically, then by asking them to tell you about their job and ask questions until you understand their point of view, their experience, and, most importantly, what they most would like to be appreciated for. 

Can you think of a time when you felt really appreciated? Or a time when you know your effort made someone else feel acknowledged and appreciated? 

Please share your examples with me. I want to take a deep dive into this topic. It would be great to share with me and others how showing appreciation works, and how receiving sincere appreciation feels. Just comment below or email me, thanks. 

To learn about Barbara Dee’s Master Class click here

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