An old Rodney Dangerfield joke: I went to the doc and said, “I’m so old, fat, and ugly that I can’t stand looking at myself in the mirror. Tell me some good news.” The doc replied, “Your eyesight is perfect.”
Here’s something to keep in mind that can win you a lot of friends and make you a lot of money:
Everybody is walking around feeling unappreciated. Most people are starving for a little recognition – and if you become the person who gives them the respect, recognition, and appreciation they crave, you’ll have a lot of influence.
Mary Kay Ash built a business empire on this principle alone, using the power of recognition and praise to build a sales army of raving fans.
She gave housewives, who were grossly looked down upon and taken for granted by their families, a place where they could feel valued and appreciated. In her book, The Mary Kay Way, there’s a chapter dedicated to this core strategy called “the invisible sign,” where she taught her people to never forget this core principle: “Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from his or her neck saying, ‘MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT!’” A worthwhile read for anyone attempting to lead or build a team.
However, if you’re running a business, you shouldn’t need or expect such love or gratitude in return.
Business owners are the ones expected to GIVE appreciation, not to get it. We are expected to be the ones who hand out praise, always express gratitude, look for the good in people, build others up and eat last. We are expected to constantly thank and show gratitude for our clients. There are countless books on these topics, and I’m not saying I disagree with those principles. It’s certainly important if you want to get the most out of your team and build a successful business.
But how many books can you show me that instruct employees or clients to do the same? There are dozens of movies, TV shows, and news reports about bad, evil bosses, businesses and employers, and not one about bad, evil employees or clients. People who compliment their bosses are called brown nosers, ass kissers, and sycophants. They are often undermined and disrespected by their colleagues. A few weeks ago was National Boss’s Day – how many of you got a card? Or an e-mail of thanks?
Similarly, clients rarely show gratitude back. You’re expected to do a stellar job, go above and beyond and deliver more value for money – and THEN send a thank-you note for the privilege. Even when you consistently go above and beyond, people are overtly or subtly critical of you, demanding more, quick to point out any shortcomings, complaining about every little thing and showing very little appreciation. As the saying goes, gratitude is short-lived but grudges go on forever.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that being grateful for our clients and employees or building people up is a bad thing.
What I am saying is that if you’re going to lead people or run a business, don’t expect the same gratitude to come back to you. Thanks will never pour in from the clients you help, the employees you support, the vendors you patronize, or the government officials or beneficiaries your tax dollars subsidize. Occasionally, yes. Routinely? Never.
You have to strengthen your resolve so that you don’t need recognition and rewards.
People who need that kind of recognition are frequently miserable, and often disappointed. That’s no way to live your life. As business owners, you need to be able to pull sufficient satisfaction from the work you do and a job well done. You need to give yourself some self-praise and have pride in your work.
One place you can go to have some help refilling your ‘cup’ is MSP Success Magazine, where we understand you.
MSP Success Magazine will help you stay up to date on what’s working in the IT industry for marketing, sales, profitability and leadership! MSP and IT Service Business Owners and CEOs in the US can be mailed a physical copy FREE.