William Arthur Ward
Positive Inspirational Stories
Featured Inspirational Story - April and May 2017
Are you dead on the job?
Here's a challenge for you. Find someone doing something good today
and tell them what a good job they're doing. Because praise is the thing
that motivates us the most, even though it takes so little time and
There's a story doing the rounds at the moment about the worker who was dead at his desk for five days before anyone discovered him. The story goes . . .
Bosses of a publishing firm are trying to work out why no one noticed that one of their employees had been sitting dead at his desk for five days before anyone asked if he was feeling okay. George Turklebaum, 51, who had been employed as a proof-reader at a New York firm for 30 years, had a heart attack in the open-plan office he shared with 23 other workers. He quietly passed away on Monday, but nobody noticed until Saturday morning when an office cleaner asked why he was still working during the weekend.
His boss Elliot Wachiaski said 'George was always the first guy in each morning and the last to leave at night, so no one found it unusual that he was in the same position all that time and didn't say anything. He was always absorbed in his work and kept much to himself.'
A post mortem examination revealed that he had been dead for five
days after suffering a coronary. Ironically, George was proofreading
manuscripts of medical textbooks when he died.
True or not, there is an important message in this yarn. Have you been appreciated at work lately? Whilst pondering this question, keep in mind that appreciation is a two way street – we also need to appreciate the work of others. We all want to be associated with a winner, be it a winning person, a winning team, a worthwhile cause or a successful organisation.
We all have sports people, teams, actors or artists that we consider
'ours'. When they do well, we bask in their reflected glory. It's the
same at work – we want to be associated with a worthwhile, winning
organisation. Our greatest reward is receiving acknowledgment that we
have contributed to making something meaningful happen. More than
anything else, people want to be valued for a job well done by those
they hold in high regard.
A famous study by Lawrence Lindahl in the 1940′s came up with some surprising results. When supervisors and their employees were asked to list 'What motivates the employees?' . . .
• Employees listed 'appreciation of a job well done' as number one and 'feeling in on things' as number two.
• Supervisors, on the other hand, expected the employees would rank these two items as eighth and tenth respectively (supervisors thought employees would put 'wages' as number one and 'promotion' number two).
These results were replicated in similar studies in the 1980′s and again in the 1990′s. In another recent study, employees were asked to rank job-based incentives – 'personal thank-you's' came first and 'a note of appreciation from my manager' came second. 'Money' came in at 16th!
Praise, the thing that motivates us the most, takes so little time and costs nothing. Famous management writer Rosabeth Moss Kantor once said 'Compensation is a right. Recognition is a gift.'
Have you appreciated the work of others lately? Has the value of your own work been appreciated? Here's a quick test – over the last week, have you
• Told someone they have done a good job?
• Looked specifically to find someone doing something well?
• Made someone else look good rather than taking the credit yourself?
• Thanked others for your own success?
• Passed on positive comments you have heard about others?
These are simple examples of the things we need to do regularly to acknowledge the good work of others.
You might say, 'If it's that easy, why don’t more people do it?' There are many reasons, but they all fall into two categories – personal and organisational.
On a personal level, many of us are not comfortable giving praise. We may be awkward about it, or perhaps believe that people are paid to do a job, so why do we have to praise them?
From an organisational perspective, it may be the culture that is holding us back, or perhaps technology preventing us from valuing the work of others. For example, technology has changed the way many of us operate. Email may have replaced personal interaction, so we no longer see what others do well – out of sight is out of mind, so how can we praise good work if we don't see it?
Here are six ways we can put praise for a job well done back into our working lives.
1. Look for things people do well and acknowledge them for their good work.
2. Be a model of acknowledgment – show others it's OK to give praise.
3. Have a conversation with a colleague about how to give praise for work well done.
4. When people have performed above the norm, write them a small thank you note (not email).
5. Encourage others to thank one another and pass on stories of good work to your manager.
6. Work to create a culture of appreciation – make acknowledgment part of your daily routine.
Finally, to get the ball rolling, pass this article on to a colleague as an introduction on how you both can encourage others to give more praise.
The essential point is that praise must be frequent and given locally (by colleagues and managers). It should not be seen as a corporate initiative or program, but merely 'the way we do things around here'.
What's not been said so far, is that praise must be genuine. People in general are very good at spotting insincerity. The message? When you do praise someone, make sure it's for the good work they have done and not just for the sake of it. A final word of warning. Many organisations turn acknowledgment into an event. They distort it with extrinsic motivators (such as money) and taint it with internal competition. Pure and simple, giving praise for a job well done is just that – pure and simple.
So, find someone doing something good today and simply tell them what a good job they've done. Above all, tap people on the shoulder occasionally to make sure they are still alive.
Written by Bob Selden
Bob Selden has coached
many sporting teams and coaches over the last 30 years, and has taught
leadership at the prestigious International Institute for Management
Development, Lausanne Switzerland and the Australian Graduate School of
Management, Sydney. He’s the author of the best-selling book What To Do
When You Become The Boss (55,000 copies in four languages) and the
recently released Don’t: How using the right words will change your
life. Bob would love to get your feedback at . . . The Right Words >>>
- Finding a Forever Home
- Grandma's Thimble
- When you thought I wasn't looking
- Left Behind
- Enjoy your nectarine
- The Old Phone . . . How do you spell fix?
- You make a difference
- Lessons from Geese
- The Richest Man in the Valley
- The Making of a Memory
- Why The Elephants Dont Run
- The Sandpiper . . . to bring you joy
- They don't walk in your shoes . . . Click, Click, Click!
- The Happiest Day of My Life
- Courage - Despite the Odds
- You just never know
- Learning to Listen
- If it is meant to be, it will be
- The Learning Tree
- The Red Marbles
- The Weeds of Our Lives
- The Distinct Sound of Purring
- Flowers for the Teacher
- The Red Ribbon
- Santa's Love
- All The Good Things
- Yusuf - He's My Brother
- Extra Good Luck
- Hoo Hoo Fraks
- Stand tall like the Sunflower
- Unique Words of Forgiveness
- I Got Back On My Seat
- Brick Wall
- White Envelopes
- Love and Music in Their Hearts
- Birthday Cards with Secret Codes
- Gift Exchange - lessons about life!
- When the message light doesn't blink
- Tenant Farmers
- I know you by heart
- In Clay Vessels
- Letting Go
- When the nest emptied
- When the birdies came
- Broken Eggs and Shattered Glass
- After the applause, make time for words of praise!
- Are you a bucker filler or a dipper
- Choosing Confidence
- The Stone Soup Story
- A Mother's Job
- Hugging Life
- The Perfect Partnership
- Acknowledging a Special Treat
- A Different Perspective
- Life is meant to be lived
- Treasured Traditions
- Rules for a better way to live
- I Just Get Started
- Memories sustain us on Father’s Day
- Creating Opportunity
- Forgiving without condoning or forgetting
- Nothing is long or short, hot or cold, good or bad!
- The Power of Discipline
- Sentry of the Homestead
- You deserve an Academy Award!
- All in the Family
- What is your Passion?
- We danced through life
- A choice to make
- Five ingredients of personal growth
- Acres of Diamonds
- If you look like a duck . . .
- The Secret of Happiness
- Harvesting Love
- It's music to your ears
- A Special Brand of Luck
- They are just empty cars
- Thou Art An Eagle
- Encouragement Works
- When you're in the cement mixer
- Plant Annually
- Life and Its Legs
- No Barriers in Life
- Getting Started
- Good Leaders are Good Followers
- How much do you want it to be
- How to improve your vision
- What forgiveness will buy
- Why let that hold you back
- Letting the yeast work its magic
- 9 things that make good employees quit
- The Beginning of Positive Thinking
- Giving Back
- May you be known by your love
- Expand your vision of possibilities
- We are meant for the skies
- Mr Belser died last night
- Are you dead on the job
- What makes us happy
- Motivating Others
- The clock is running so make the most of today
- Calming the muddy waters
- Keeping New Year’s Resolutions - the secret additive
- You are unique
- Web of Love
- Is happiness around the corner
- Seeing Life Through New Eyes
- An enriching action
- The Road to Significance and Success
- The real purpose of your life
- With leadership its the little things that matter
- The Obstacle in our Path
- Good deeds no matter how small can change the world for someone