Lesson Learned

Lesson Learned

When we seek to discover the best in others,

we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.”

-William Arthur Ward (1921 - 1994)


At twenty-nine, I was a newly hired manager with ten employees, many of whom were at least a decade older.  In an effort to get to know each team member, I made a point to visit with each person once a week and give positive, specific feedback.

On Friday afternoons, I met with Mrs. Orr, our budgeting and finance specialist.  After weeks of these one-on-one meetings with her, she asked if I was interested in hearing ideas about improving employee productivity. 

“Of course!” I said.

“Eliminate our Friday meetings,” she replied. 

I listened, aghast and slightly embarrassed, as she explained that she could improve her personal productivity by 20% if she didn’t have to meet with me.  She was a professional, she went on, she knew when she had done her job well; she didn’t need me telling her.  I later discovered that Mrs. Orr was uncomfortable with praise.  In fact, our “appreciative dialogs” were stressful for her. 

It was a powerful lesson in understanding the needs of others.

Each person is unique.  Each person has their own set of needs and expectations, their own motivational drivers. Understand these, and you’ll give the individual a chance to grow and flourish. 

Treat people the way the want to be treated, and you’ll be able to bring out their best. And working to bring out the best in others, will inevitably bring out the best in you, too. 




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