by Lynette Silva
Above and beyond – that’s a common theme for what types of employee contributions should be recognized. And it’s a good theme. This is so important to some of our clients that they’ve even branded their recognition programs “Above and Beyond.”
But what about “completely different?” Or “entirely outside of the job description?” Sometimes we recognize and reward these individuals, but all too often we punish them instead, forcing them back into the box and encouraging them to “just get the job done.”
And then there are people like Charles Clark, custodian at Trinity High School in Euless, TX. Featured in a recent CBS Sunday Morning story, Mr. Clark does his defined “job” very well. He is committed to providing a clean and comfortable environment for the students and faculty. But it’s his “extra” work that perhaps has the most lasting and profound impact.
Here’s the story (email subscribers, click through for the video):
Mr. Clark pays attention and watches out for the students that might need a little extra encouragement and guidance to stay on the right path. He serves as a counselor of sorts, one who the professional counselor on staff acknowledges is better than the pros at working with some of the students. And his results are outstanding. The students Mr. Clark targets for special attention tend to go on to graduate college.
The principles he applies to students work just as well with our colleagues. When applied thoughtfully, these principles can have profound impact on others.
- Pay attention – Mr. Clark gets his job done, but he also pays attention to those around him. He is intentional in looking for those who need bit more support. Then he actually gives it.
- Offer words of encouragement and support – Many of us know others who need additional support, but not all of us are willing to give up our own time to spend a few minutes to offer the recognition and help they may need. Often, kind words of praise and appreciation are all that’s needed.
- Seek out the good in others – Mr. Clark tends to reach out to the students who might be on the brink of “trouble” or seeking the wrong path, but he looks beyond that. He sees their potential and the good they have to offer. Think for a moment about your colleagues. Who are the most difficult to work with? Do you tend to avoid them because of their reputation? Now pause and rethink, what does that person do particularly well? How can you seek out ways to engage with them to benefit from their strengths? Praising others for their strengths is a powerful way to help them refocus on what matters most.
How can you be more intentional in noticing your colleagues and their efforts? How have words of encouragement from others helped you?