05-12-15Gary, shop foreman for a Southwest Washington cabinet manufacturer, told Session 6 of the Leadership Development Lab (LDL,

“I chose my wife as one of my ‘pearl’ persons. We have only been married for five years. We had both been single for over ten years before we remarried. I have been kind of stuck in my ways. My wife has said that I never comment on her cooking, whether I liked what she prepares for dinner or not. She said if someone asked her what my favorite food was, she wouldn’t know what to tell them. I decided to use Leadership Principles #4, Provide Acknowledgement, and #6, Be An Active Listener. I started telling her that dinner was good and that I really liked something specific about what and how she had prepared it. After a week or so, I noticed a difference in her attitude about cooking for me. She was more enthusiastic about making dinner and satisfying me with what she was preparing for our meals. Dinner has become much more enjoyable for both of us.

“The lesson I learned from this experience is that a little feedback, a little acknowledge-ment, can go a long way. I feel better about myself and I can easily see my wife feels better about herself, her culinary skills, and our relationship.

“The action I call you to take is to provide feedback and acknowledgment to your family members and the people you work with and for. Tell them how much you appreciate them, what they do to make your world a little better, and how they add ‘seasoning’ to your life experiences. The benefit you will gain is you will feel better about yourself, and everyone on your team will feel better, too. They will start to please you with whatever they are doing—everything they are cooking up.”

How easy it is for us to take those we love at home and those who support us at work for granted. When we do, we fail to give the feedback that everyone needs and deserves to feel good about themselves and perform at a higher level. Everyone deserves to feel valued and appreciated. If you want to create an engaged, high-performance organization, apply the idea Gary reminds us of in this simple story. Give meaningful feedback to everyone who is “cooking” anything up for you.

If someone really wanted something, I mean REALLY wanted it, and you were the only one in the whole world who could provide it, and you gave it to them, do you think you would get a favorable response? Well, you do. Recognition from you is unique, deserved, and when you provide it in a meaningful way, you will always get a favorable response.