Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 127

Remember that appreciation days + weeks aren't single points in time. Appreciate the work of others, always.

Who doesn't love an appreciation day (or week for that matter)?

Yet, too often we get caught up in the singular nature of the yearly event and not enough in the fact that we should appreciate people all the time, and more often than not, for no reason other than because they are people, just like we are.

Look at it this way:  If you have kids, a spouse, a pet, you likely don't wait until a birthday, anniversary, etc. to let them know how much you care for them.  The same should hold true for friends, colleagues, and our professional network.

The challenge with events that come around once a year, is if we aren't careful, we can get locked into the habit of lavishing praise only at those times.  For those receiving the thanks (and often associated gifts), it is often well-taken, but sometimes hollow.  The thought, "You're thanking me now, but what about throughout the rest of the year?"  is more common than we might hope to admit.

What do we do about this?  Here are two ideas:

First, showcase to your staff that annual events aren't the only times we celebrate.  Create celebration times within your school and district community that are yours, and highlight the individuality of you and your stakeholders.  Want to celebrate National Pancake Day?  Do it, with a great pancake breakfast.  Want to create a monthly toy/book/game swap?  Do it.  While we can overdo celebration, we can't overdo a caring community.

Second, be spontaneous.  Thank people regularly and for things that might not seem "thank worthy."  The point here is that everyone needs to be recognized for the work that they do.  Keep in mind this is different from praising someone.  Rather, you are acknowledging that people, regardless of their role, are doing the best they can, and that means something.  Leaders (and learners) who thank others tend to encourage others to pay-it-forward.

So revel in annual appreciation events, but don't stop there.  Acknowledge and appreciate those around you, always.

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