Making them feel like they matter


When I consider the people in my life who are most memorable whether they are relatives, teachers, bosses or leaders I’ve known, the ones that give me that all-over warm fuzzy memory are the ones that made me feel like I mattered. This is their legacy, even if they are no longer part of my everyday life.

I’m not a needy person. I’m a darned independent woman (ask my husband), but I also want to know that I’m making a difference and that I’ve been heard when I say something that’s important to me. Those feelings help me to carry on even when things are tough. I think we all want that.

I know that leaders who project a feeling of “you matter” are enjoying a level of productivity, dedication and motivation from others that’s different from those who don’t. The bottom line is that treating people as if they matter will impact your organization.

When you take the time to mentor and coach others, listen to understand different points of view, stay fully present to others and show sincerity and thankfulness for them, you are likely experiencing the benefits of a productive organization, change initiative or project.

As you consider someone special in your life or your work who made you feel that you were important, you might notice some things they did. You, too can help people to know they matter by:

Listening deeply to things that are important to others without judgment or distractions. Stay present and focused to what is said, ask questions to understand their point of view and look them in the eye. Don’t try to fix you or solve their problems. Don’t rush the conversation because what they have to say is significant to them.

Notice what is exceptional about them. Let them know what you’ve observed and how it serves them and the organization they’re a part of. Continue to remind them of what they do well and help them to find ways to use those strengths in the workplace.

Include them in things that are important to them. Conversations, projects, and introductions to people who are essential for them to connect to let them know that they matter. Because you know what is special about them, you also know that they have great potential. You must stay vigilant in looking for ways to help them to reach it.

Express sincere gratitude for not only what they do but who they are. Let them know that they matter by conveying you appreciation in ways that touch their heart.

In the hustle of getting work done, it’s easy for a leader to lose track of what it means to let the people who are making the organization successful know how important they are. Take a moment and remember someone who made you feel that way and then pay it forward to those who matter to you.

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Mary Jo Asmus is the founder and President of Aspire Collaborative Services LLC, an executive coach, writer, internationally recognized thought leader, and a consultant who partners with organizations of all kinds to develop and administer coaching programs. She has “walked in your shoes” as a former leader in a Fortune company.


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