I’d like to pose a scenario and see if you can relate. It’s the end of yet another month at your company. You’ve had an extremely productive and successful 30 days, even been complimented by a couple of co-workers in the process. You walk into the conference room for the month-in-review session with a certain swagger, because you brought real value to your position and bottom line.
Only your hard work doesn’t top billing, you don’t get an kudos. In fact, someone you know you did better than gets all the praise.
You would have to be a robot to let that go with out a little pang of hurt inside. You also wouldn’t be alone.
I just finished reading an amazing story on Donald Miller’s blog about an ancient tradition in Nepal on experiencing grief and how the tribe comes to his or her aid. I would encourage everyone to read the whole piece, it’s not long. Long story short, when we are dealt any sort of loss, we tend to instinctively clutch even tighter to what we have because we can’t stand any more grief. To truly learn how to cope, we must open our hearts to letting it all go so that we can accept what is to come.
How does that apply to the work place?
We can’t cling to the hope of hearing the right combination of platitudes, bonuses or rewards for serving the greater good at work. We must be willing to not only allow others the limelight, and to be the one showering the praise!
I am not even close to a master of this idea. When my name is not called out as a top performer (especially when I think I deserve it), I grieve like the best of them. I put on my best pouty face and skulk off to my office to wallow in my self-pity. We all know how my performance is affected afterwards, right?
Conversely, the days where I lead the cheers and applaud the efforts by those around me, I’m not only happy to be working with them but my efforts are also spurned to greatness.
Just remember, the day you expect accolades, you set yourself up for disappointment and greif. Give yourself reasonable expectations. Don’t expect the worst, set reachable goals and then be satisfied with your work when you do. That’s when the rewards that truly matter come.