Almost everyone knows the saying, "You are what you eat." But Michael E. Case, president and CEO of The Westervelt Co., a land resource organization, put a new twist on it by saying, "You are what you acknowledge."
In order to see something great in another, you have to have some experience with that quality or talent yourself. To admire and praise a team member's dedication and value as a human being to your team, you have to know on some level what it is to feel valued and to make a contribution to a team.
When project team members show they respect and appreciate fellow team members' commitment, integrity, openness, positive attitude, expertise, knowledge sharing and listening, that's what becomes the team's--and even the organization's--core values.
When these core values are brought to light, team members listen, they don't tolerate serving their customers poorly and they have a high sense of integrity. They become what they acknowledge.
Leaders must set the example in order to have others emulate it and make it positively "rampant" in an organization. And by the definition of former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JP Morgan Chase, William Harrison, Jr., everyone can do this. He dramatically stated, "Be a leader. We want everybody to be a leader...to be a leader you have to have a view, be willing to constructively express it, and use it to make something better. Under that definition, everybody can be a leader."
Everyone, then, not only can be, but IS a leader. Everyone, then, can demonstrate that ability to make something better. Team leaders who focus on and make it their honor and their duty to exemplify the power of acknowledgment achieve great results. Those of us who are acknowledged find it much easier to acknowledge others.
Acknowledgments truly transform both the giver and the receiver on a project team. They engender employee loyalty and engagement, improve relationships and enhance self-worth. These positive results are contagious, and the actions of each team member are amplified as the recipient picks up on this idea and spreads the circle wider. Like pebbles in a pond, the ripples radiate farther and farther out.
You are indeed what you acknowledge! Why wait to start practicing this--as a leader, do it now and reap the rewards!