Employee Appreciation Day is March 6

No one is without strength.

By Ann Raines, director, Leadership Development,

Ann Raines

It is so easy to become complacent about the good things in our lives until something reminds us of how important those things are to our happiness.  On occasion, the universe reminds me that what is, is only promised for the moment.  Loss often generates an appreciation for what was.   (We didn’t know what we had until it was gone.)  In our busy-ness we sometimes forget to say thank you or let others know how much their connections and contributions matter to us. 

Our society has an expectation that those we lead should be Renaissance people, excelling at everything.  This plays out in the search for college admission.  All you need to be is a world-class athlete, with an Honor Society membership, who writes poetry, has a black belt in karate, and has discovered a new way to grow skin cells in a Petri dish.  It is so easy to be frustrated about what someone is not or what someone cannot do.  In our search for perfection, we lament the shortcomings of others without seeking the beauty and gifts of those same people. 

I had the great fortune of having Dr. John McDermott as my education professor many years ago.  His words have become my thoughts, and across the years his wisdom resonates even stronger today than when he first shared his obligation of those who lead.  Dr. McDermott practiced a love for imperfect people. “Every person under your leadership is a special person to someone, and your job is not to sort them into piles of who can and can’t.  Your job is to figure out what each can do well, and help them make that element their greatness.”  At the core of his belief system was a strength-based approach. No one is without strength.  You need to know those you lead well enough to know their strengths and unique abilities.

Appreciation should come from the heart, but it begins in the mind.  Are you only seeing what someone lacks, or are you truly grateful for what they are and what they contribute?  What are you doing to show your appreciation?  As individuals, we value different demonstrations of appreciation.  In other words, what matters to people is very personal.  You need to know your employees to determine what will matter to them.

I am happy to remind you that March 6 is Employee Appreciation Day.  You may not have thought about gratitude for the people who make you better, smarter, and more put together, or maybe you thought about it but failed to mention it.  March 6 is your day to start!  I hope it feels good enough for you that the tradition continues on March 7.

About Northampton Community College’s Leadership Development
The need to shift culture and transform individuals from managers to strong leaders is an increasingly important step in building a high-performing organization - particularly in our accelerated business world. True leaders within these organizations are responsible for setting the strategic direction or vision of the company and the groups within. But, developing these individuals into leaders who can think strategically and set organizational direction is a process - one that NCC’s Center for Business and Industry leadership professionals successfully established nearly a decade ago.

To learn more about our time-tested program, contact the Center for Business and Industry at 610.861.5064 or cbi@northampton.edu.