My wife, Carol, and I met Soren Ray Yates, our first grandchild, on Nov. 19th. He lives in Phoenix and it was one of those moments you never forget. I had seen a hundred or more pictures on his dad's Web site but the in-person meeting created a swell in my chest.
He was just barely a month old and didn't seem to relish the moment as I did. Two years ago I resigned myself to the fact that no grandchildren were in my future. Then came Soren and another, thanks to my son and his beautiful wife, is due in April.
Soren's mother, Betsy, asked me if I felt old being a grandfather. To tell the truth I didn't. However, I did feel a sense of amazement. It was almost as though I was watching a movie of the events. The generations were being propelled into the future while the branches of my tree were growing. As I held Soren and looked into his dark blue eyes, I wondered what successes he would achieve and what loves he would experience. His potential is endless. My telling him about his potential meant little to him. However, the sound of my voice and the warmth of my touch comforted him.
This was one of those events that shake you from the complacencies of everyday life and re-emphasize what is important. So often, we find ourselves plowing through tasks before us, work on Monday through Friday, chores on Saturday, and football on Sunday. Some of us begin to take those important people around us for granted. When I once again saw the beginning of life, I was reminded that work, chores, or football are actually far back on my priority list. People head the list, my family, my neighbors, and my clients.
The same is true at work. We take for granted the report will be on time as it is every month or the smile we receive as we walk into the office each morning. We realize that the value-added things people around us do everyday are not acknowledged as regularly as they should be.
Some people tell me they don't need that "Thank you" or "I appreciate that" but I don't buy it. Now maybe I am projecting on others, but I believe people want and need positive feedback. The best leaders I have known understood this need and want. Tomorrow when you go to work, find that person who has helped you the most and that person who has shown potential and tell them how you feel. I guarantee you the motivation of that person will grow proportionally with the feedback.
R. Glenn Ray is the president of RayCom Learning, which helps leaders who want to create an environment where people communicate clearly and choose to commit to organizational goals. He can be reached at 1-888-574-5370, by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or online www.raycomlearning.com. Everyday Leadership usually appears each Wednesday on the Business page.