Ensuring others feel valued is something that I am incredibly passionate about in my personal life as well as my professional life.
This is something I have strived to teach others my entire retail career. Today I was asked why and where I discovered this was my passion and purpose in life. I had to stop and think over my career to when I started to become aware of this and what triggered it.
As I reflect, it started at an earlier age than my retail career.
I am an identical twin; this is something that as a child made me feel extremely special and grateful. I had a built-in bestie that looked like me, sounded like me, and I never felt alone. We shared everything when we were little, a room, our thoughts, and our parents.
As we started to grow and develop I developed a lisp one that was paralyzing as a teen. My sister did not have the same challenges speaking, and actually, I can't even remember if she wore braces as I did. Maybe she did? I remember wearing every kind of headgear, and concoction you can imagine. It was embarrassing, and my memories of primary and high school were ones of being teased and passive when it came to speaking up. She on the other hand in my perspective was popular and outgoing. I began to feel undervalued by people but more importantly my sister. As I grew and we started to follow our paths this feeling of not being valued continued throughout our entire relationship. For years I have almost felt that my sister does not see my value in her life, and I even asked her this on a trip to the UK about ten years ago.
Her answer was If I ever become a mum, I think you could offer me advice. I was shocked and felt that as a leader in business there could be so much more I could provide in life lessons or support.
Again a year ago I was put in that position after building what I considered to be a close friendship over the past couple of years; however again she let me know she didn't need me in her life like that.
Thank god for age and wisdom as well as our ability to change our perspective. Every person can change their perspective if they want to.
I realized yesterday during a meditation that this feeling that was created at a young age has fueled me to ensure that others feel valued no matter what their contribution is and even if they don't end up working on my team forever.
You see I realized yesterday that without holding this emotion of not feeling valued I might not have understood this to the depth that I do. And because I know the feeling first hand, I make it a mission as much as possible to create an environment where people are valued, and that they value others, themselves and recognize the importance of this.
In business this is supercritical, the more an employee feels valued, listened to and encouraged the better results the company will deliver. People build businesses; people manage people, and every intricate part of a team that produces is based on a team of people that execute the companies objectives with passion. Without people and more importantly, people that feel valued there would be no business. You can not open the doors of a retail store without a team of people. You can not provide fantastic service from a team of people that do not value their customers.
It doesn't cost us anything other than more effort, awareness and putting others first when it counts.
To value others, it's quite simple; Follow these simple guidelines.
- Be compassionate, listen and learn.
- Ask questions and lots of them.
- Make it about them not you.
- Encourage others to share ideas no matter how small they are; you never know what might be the next million dollar idea or the idea that saves money time and effort.
- Take time for team members that may not directly report into you, but rather facilitate open conversation cross-functionally. This builds culture. Even though most offices are open plan these days, there is a severe amount of silos.
- Show that you care about your people, don't take them for granted.
- It's not always about a raise or a games room at work. More than that it's about how each team member interacts with a purpose to help everyone on the team feel valued every day.
- So many people I chat with tell me horror stories of their work experience and how they never felt valued by the company where they work.
- Goals and results are indeed important, but without motivated, engaged, valued employees the results will not be the results that you want.
- Build culture first, then strategy second.
- Recognize peoples talents more often than not.
So the lesson learned is that sometimes in life we are given or treated a certain way, however, what you learn from it and choose to do with those emotions will define you not the experience itself.
Today I am genuinely grateful for that feeling of being undervalued as it served me and my purpose throughout my retail career and will continue. Without this lesson early on I may not have had an awareness of this and how important it is. I am grateful for my sister and now do not need for her to make me feel valued as this lesson itself is one of the most significant gifts she could have given me!
Thanks for reading!
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