I don`t know about you, but I can pretty easily make a top five list of gifts I`ve received for my birthday or Christmas. Some things stand out for their usefulness, some for the thought that was behind them and some just because they were cool.
And while I have enjoyed all the gifts on my top five or top ten (or even top 100) list immensely, there is an entirely different list that exceeds them all. And that`s the list I want to share with you now.
Being listened to. It happens so rarely, really. Yes, I am blessed with wonderful people in all parts of my life, and many are great listeners. It isn`t that they never listen; it`s that when they stop everything and focus on just me and my ideas, I feel more confident, stronger and smarter. It seems like such a simple act, and yet we all forget too frequently, which makes this gift all the more powerful.
Being trusted. When people trust me, I feel great! And while they don`t usually announce it in a card, with a voice mail or in a personal conversation that “You, know, I really trust you”; I can tell when they do. And when I sense their trust at higher levels it urges me to do everything I can to continue to earn it – which has the side benefit of creating a sense of accomplishment when it is achieved.
Being supported. This is a multifaceted gift because it can come in so many wrappings (including the other gifts mentioned here). I want to know that someone has my back – that they believe in me. That they want me to succeed, that they have my best interests at heart, and that they will recognize my successes. This doesn`t mean that I am absolving myself of responsibilities; it`s just that when I have the support (in all these many forms) of others it makes my life easier and more enjoyable.
Being included. I want to belong (we all do). I want to be asked to join (so do you). Whether it`s the game of tag on the playground, or to join the group for lunch out of the office, we all like to feel wanted, and we all need to be a part of a community. I won`t always say yes to every offer, but it doesn`t mean I don`t appreciate the gift of being asked, of being included.
Being loved. In some contexts, like at work, you might not use the word love – but you hopefully do use the word care or respect or like. These are wonderful gifts, and they`re all in the same family as love. But love is the bottom line – and the greatest gift of all.
These gifts are deeper, more meaningful and longer lasting than even the biggest or most expensive material gift. They are gifts given with action rather than with other resources. These are gifts cherished by everyone on earth, regardless of age, race, religion or job function.
While I`m talking about gifts, these thoughts aren`t confined to birthdays, and isn`t really about receiving either.
The cliché is true.
It is better to give than receive.
Now, read about these gifts again and think about how often you give them to those around you. Is it as often as it could be? Is your answer the same at work as it is in your personal life?
How could giving these gifts positively impact the people you lead as well as their performance?
Give yourself the gift of reflecting and acting on these questions today.
About the Author
Kevin is an author, speaker, trainer, consultant and the Chief Potential Officer of the Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://www.KevinEikenberry.com), a learning consulting company that helps organizations, teams and individuals unleash their leadership potential.