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Gratitude, Giving and Unsolicited Appreciation

Tis the season. The season for giving. The season for celebrating. The season for sharing. The season for thanks. The season for fellowship, family and friendship. For these and a million other reasons; I love this time of year. Warm fires, sparkling lights, and gratitude. You find acts of giving and kindness at the grocery store, at the food bank, at both big box store businesses and the little home town cafe.

Tis the season for shopping and commerce; Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and even Giving Tuesday has its own dedicated day. In short, this is a time where we see people out, sharing, participating and giving, and while we have many moments to see people giving in public ways, there are always small moments, more hidden where we see this happen that I think are just as special.

Let me introduce you to Ben. Ben was my waiter at a Sports Bar at a hotel I was staying at while traveling. My husband and I had a very busy schedule, so we happened to take advantage of the establishment as it was so convenient to us. One night we split some nachos. They were OK, filling, and warm, but just OK. The next day we were grabbing a quick lunch, and found ourselves once again at the sports bar. Now, enters Ben. Ben was wonderful. He chit chat just the right amount, seemed honestly interested in our day, and asked if we wanted suggestions for lunch. Believing in honest feedback, I let him know I was, but not interested in the nachos, as our night before they had been "OK". What happened next, made my day as an HR professional. Ben, looked me straight in the face and said, "yes, but you didn't have the nachos made by Josh". He continued on telling me how great Josh, who was the cook in the back in charge of nachos that day, was at making this specific dish. He spoke about how much pride he took in making the perfect meal, and that nachos made by Josh would not be disappointing. We ended up ordering them and..... Ben was RIGHT! They were the best, most beautiful looking nachos I had ever seen. But, what made them better, was how truly supportive Ben was of his team member. And then Ben did something else. After we had commented on how great the meal truly was, he brought Josh out and introduced him to us. That moment for Josh was obviously special. He was surprised, and after we were able to relay our appreciation, you could see his pride in his work grow right there in front of us. While Josh was the star at that moment; in my mind, Ben was the real superstar in that establishment.

After that lunch, I left thinking about that... What if every team member took the time to learn about their team member's strengths, and highlighted those strengths to others without solicitation? What kind of workplace could that be, what kind of team members could that create? It is this concept of unsolicited appreciation I think that could truly inspire a change in our workplaces. For that encouragement, and for the thought inspiring meal, I want to truly say thanks to the "Josh" in the workplace. Your desire to do your best work, even in what could seem like menial tasks, is truly important. But especially to the "Ben" in the workplace, I want to give a big thanks too. People like you can and do make the positive change in this world happen. Keep it up!

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