The Worth of Value

What would drive you to quit your job?

Join the crowd if you answered, “Feeling bad about myself because my value as a person and productive worker goes unrecognized.”

Just this sense of neglect and self-doubt is among the top three reasons that employees say they would walk, according to a 2005/2006 employee satisfaction survey by The compensation specialist notes that only poor pay and lack of advancement opportunities can propel people out the door faster.

This suggests that one of the strongest human motivators is praise for work well done and the essential self-respect that such recognition nurtures. Yet many employees complain that they seldom receive honor where honor is due—and question their worth because of it.

If this is you, you may blame your manager or supervisor. This is top-down thinking, however, and it amounts to surrendering your personal power to do what you can to feed your sense of self-value and well-being.

The fact is that we are all responsible when there is a dearth of appreciation in the workplace and people feel diminished. If you feel a lesser person because you don’t get the recognition you deserve, it’s most likely because you don’t give anyone else any recognition, either.

This is the Law of Attraction at work: you get what you focus on, and many of us, much of the time, have eyes only for the misdeeds, mistakes, imperfections and shortcomings of our boss and our co-workers.

The surest way to affirm your own value is to show that you value others. Studies underline that when we recognize people for their efforts, they feel good about themselves. What’s more, anyone who witnesses our act of appreciation is swept by good feeling, as well.

I once stepped into a jam-packed pizza place with my friend Maude. A server balancing a tray full of beers gave us a big smile and a wave from across the noisy dining room, and yelled a promise to be with us as soon as she could. When the server finally made her way to our table, Maude told her, “You’re really good at what you do. Even though you couldn’t get to us right away, you made us feel welcome. I’ll bet people come in here because of you.”

Tears sprang to the woman’s eyes. “Thank you so much!” she replied. “I really needed to hear that. My boss just chewed me out for being too enthusiastic. He wants me to tone it down.”

Maude’s simple expression of recognition for the value of the waitress’s welcome made an immediate difference all around. From second-guessing herself, the waitress went to feeling that she was on the right track. She could tone down her style of greeting customers, but didn’t need to abandon it. The waitress felt wonderful, Maude felt good and, as a witness to this kindness, I felt moved.

Imagine how quickly you could transform your workplace through similar acts. You do not need to be the boss or ask permission to perform this magic. You need no purchase order, no budget allocation and no special equipment. Simply look consistently for what you value in others (in your boss, too!) and express your appreciation of it.

As you more and more recognize others for what is of value in them, what they do and how they do it, the atmosphere at your workplace will change quietly and profoundly for the better.

Best of all, you cannot value others without deepening your sense of your own value.

What is that worth to you?

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