Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Now That’s A Manager

From the film 300:
Stelios: “It’s an honor to die at your side.”
Leonidas: “It’s an honor to have lived at yours.”

Mike’s watching TV tonight, flipping back and forth between 300 and 3:10 to Yuma, and I heard this exchange and it got me thinking. That’s some good management right there. Yeah, I’m a geek.

Every semester we talk about applications of psychology to my students’ future lives (work, family, etc.), and one thing we hit hard is management. Whether you like to admit it or not, in the work environment for the rest of your life you will either be managed or be a manager (or probably do a little of both at once). When we talk to people, when we watch people interact, we realize that one thing that they crave, that they NEED, to make them content is recognition. The Kudos bar from the boss in their publicly-visible mailbox will make an employee high for the week more so than any bonus or raise (wait, did I just say that money won’t make you happy?). Because it’s about me. ME (points to chest and pokes happily).

So take a look at the 300 quote again – now do you see what I was talking about? Even in death, the King told someone else (NOT the King) that they appreciated their life and serving beside them (also that death was not the important part of their experience but that living/working together was, so the process of work was more important, but we won’t go there tonight). And people wonder why all these guys died for Leonidas. Well? He was a good leader.

My students generally want to know how they can take what they learn in my classes and use it in “life” and we can even take this a step further – every day you will interact with other people, whether it be your boss, your significant other, your children, your parents. If we know that people want to be recognized and it makes them happy if you do so, take a look at your relationships with others. Where could you (and those around you) benefit from this? Would your significant other be happier, even marginally, if you actually told them you appreciated them and/or appreciated specific things that they did? You’re darn right they would. And the happier they are, theoretically, they happier they’ll be around you (and the happier you’ll be). Win/win.

Who can you “recognize” today and tomorrow? How can you put a smile on someone’s face just by telling them that you’ve seen what they’ve done and you appreciate their work and them as a person?