My mother Enid is going to be 90 in June of this year and I am exploring old photos and our family history to celebrate the occasion. Solving the mystery of who is who in the old wedding photos is very gratifying and with the help of my assistant, and some ancestry software I am learning a great deal about myself, who I am, and where I came from.
This idea of who we are, and what unique gifts we bring to an organization (or family) are of more profound importance than we would like to admit, or perhaps know how to articulate. Recently I was reading Anthony Steven’s “The Talking Cure”, a history of psychotherapy in three parts, and in it he relates that Dr. Carl Jung one of psychology’s great minds, said that two-thirds of the patients that he saw were not suffering from an illness or psychiatric disorder at all, but rather from the meaninglessness and purposelessness of their lives. Dr. Stevens confirmed that that is as true today in his practice as it was then.
What this says to me is that people are fulfilled to the extent to which their lives have meaning and purpose. So what does this mean to us a leaders and managers of others?
Think back on some of the great team captains, bosses, teammates, leaders and managers you have had the pleasure of working with. Did they give you more money? No, that gratification is short lived. Did they give you instruction? No, over time that is condescending. I would argue that they made your life meaningful by appreciating you for the gifts you have and including you in their plans, and they gave you purpose by sharing a vision for the future that was so interesting and enticing as to be worthy of you doing your best to achieve. And I would think, you were glad to contribute and excited about doing your part.
If you agree with me, and you are in a position of influence, then ask yourself, when was the last time you:
- Praised or recognized someone for doing a great job
- Asked someone for help with an important issue
- Told someone why you appreciate them
- Shared your vision for the future in an inspiring way
- Set a ‘BHAG’ ( a Big Hairy Audacious Goal), and announced it, without knowing how to get there
– Alan Maclachlan, President, Insights Toronto