Jed, foreman for a Northwest mechanical contractor, told session 8B of the Leadership Development Lab,
“I had been working on the same project for over a year, and every month or so, the general contractor would issue a safety award to one of the subs that had performed above all others with their safety performance. In March 2015, my firm and our subcontractors were chosen to be honored with the Project’s Safety Award. This award is a neat deal because in addition to looking at every employee’s record on the current project, the general contractor also looked at their records on all previous projects.
“The safety award was presented during the project’s weekly safety meeting in front of about 100 other workers. In the past, the individual that was receiving the award would mumble a quick ‘Thanks’ and that was it. I felt like this was a good opportunity to practice what I had learned in our Turbo Leadership Development Lab on how to properly receive an award. I went up and said, ‘Thank you. We could not have earned this award without the safe work habits of everyone on our crews. JRT wants to also thank RQC for providing a safe job site for all of us. Then I told them we would proudly hang the award on the wall in our lobby, and said ‘Thank you again.’
“After the meeting, the general contractor’s safety officer came up and thanked me for accepting the award so professionally. He said no one had ever done that for him before. It was quite obvious that he appreciated, and was impressed with my professionalism.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is to always accept an award or something similar, like a thoughtful gift, with this Turbo method.
“The action I call you to take is always accept an award, a compliment, or a gift with this simple 4-step method: say thank you, give credit to others, tell how you will use the award, and say thank you again.
“The benefit you will gain is a very professional appearance and representation of your company as well as making the giver truly feel that you care about and appreciate the award.”
P.S. “The award is hanging on the wall in our entryway and we have already had several compliments from visitors to our office for this achievement.”
Achievements are only meaningful when celebrated. They become part of us only when we accept them, when we say “yes, this is who I am” and accept them heartily, not when we shrug them off in some half-hearted way. So stop playing it safe when you receive an award or recognition. Step up proudly. Accept the recognition professionally. You will anchor your achievement and set a new standard of professionalism for your team.