Updated: May 2, 2020
Teachers spend their own money buying packets of coloured stars because they know the performance enhancing power of recognition. A school principal told me the key to achieving successful human growth is to reward the behaviour worth repeating. A buzz on our cellphone makes us feel good and hooks us onto cell phone attention habits. A drug dealer knows their product induces the euphoria of dopamine in the brain to such high levels, only repeated use of the drug can produce such an extreme effect. Teachers, Principals, Telco’s and drug dealers are ALL drug dealers stimulating our natural biological response to external recognition.
For the giver, doing something good for someone else leads to the biological response of feeling good with a hit of oxytocin. Doing something out of the ordinary, without expectation of reciprocity, is referred to as paying it forward.
Simon Sinek leadership consultant’s stories include one about a visit to a Las Vegas Hotel where he bought a cup of coffee. In response to the question posed to a very friendly coffee vendor “how do you feel about your job?” the vendor replied, “I love my job”. The reason he loved his job is that hotel managers would be constantly in touch to make sure he had everything he needed to do his job well. They would ask him what he needed? This is management recognition of the importance of the work done by the employee. The same coffee vendor had a second job at another hotel which he hated because all the managers there would do, is look to point out any mistakes anyone would make and do nothing to support problem solving for staff.
Every employee has different problems affecting how they feel when they are at work. Often, they are personal issues outside of company remit. We commonly lend an empathetic ear and that helps a little. Sometimes we can go out of our way to do something special because the circumstances are just right at that time. Never let an opportunity slip by where you can be the difference to an employee or colleague.
Life is too short to not help those within our reach and means, whether it be a simple team acknowledgement of a special birthday with a song or buying a bottle of fresh water for a homeless stranger. Never walk past an opportunity to inspire others to do great things, in the context of their lives. It may be intangible to predict, but our biology will reward the giver and receiver. Our pedagogues know that recognition motivates enquiring minds to greatness. Let’s TRY and make this world a better place, while expecting nothing in return, by giving to others,
when it matters most.
By Matthew Ensoll Editor, The New Zealand Building Economist (NZBE).