Appreciation

Forcing myself to write a post this week because it’s been a rough week (or three) and I’m feeling a little beat up. I’ve been thinking a lot about women as leaders, empathy, emotional intelligence, and just really the way strong women are continuously stifled in our society.

But I’m really not in a place yet to write any of those posts right now.

Instead, I thought I would write about something that I think we can all do with a little more of in our lives and our work.

Appreciation.

Appreciation, or the lack thereof, is really what drove me from my marriage, personally. I think it’s important that we acknowledge our partners and what they do for us and with us and for the whole unit every day. It’s the little things, as they say. But, what about the workplace? Don’t we also crave and really deserve appreciation there as well?

Now, it’s certainly hard as a leader to recognize everyone every day. But, I do try to recognize those that put forth the extra effort. I write note cards for staff. I have a stack of cards in a drawer for that purpose, whether it be a personal or professional achievement. Those are always written with sincerity.

I think, honestly, leaders often do one of two things. We shower praise on those who are the top achievers and the tall flowers (where would we be without you) or we spend a lot of time with the lowest performing (because we have to). What about the people in the middle? How do we show everyone else some appreciation?

I’m not sure I have the answers here to this one. I think, in some way, there needs to be a concerted effort to show everyone that you appreciate all that they do. I bring in food and treats. I donated a Keurig. I am genuinely excited about everyone’s progress on projects.

What does appreciation in the workplace even mean? To me, it means that I hope everyone I work with, in and out of the library, knows that I appreciate my colleagues on good and bad days. I appreciate the hard work every one does. I appreciate that their work has meaning and value and they want to do it well. I appreciate them as people and as part of the larger organization. I certainly don’t know completely if that sentiment gets across every day, but I hope it gets across most days.

But what about the leader? Who shows that person appreciation? My boss does, for sure. But, I have definitely worked with others in leadership positions who feel they are out there alone. I’ve written before about how library administration jobs are really a lonely existence because no one on your campus quite gets what we do, so directors often don’t have a group of people at work with whom they can rely on to discuss the day to day. That is one reason that social media is so important to me. My online library tribe is invaluable for giving me perspective and helping me know when I am on the right track (or the total wrong one).

What I’d like to leave you with is the idea that everyone needs to know they are appreciated. If you have not gotten that from your leader, please speak up and let them know. If you haven’t given someone the idea that they are appreciated, make a concerted effort to do that.

Good luck and high fives of appreciation all around.

One thought on “Appreciation

  1. One of the things that drove me from my previous position at a mid-size library was that I felt unappreciated. We had several “top achievers” librarians, people who were best at drawing attention to their work. Not that their work was bad — it was often stellar — but it wasn’t necessarily better than those of us who didn’t toot our own horns so much. Our library was small enough that the library director could and should have been able to acknowledge work done by people at all levels. It didn’t happen. I left, partly because I felt unappreciated. I’m now in a new workplace with a library dean who knows how to make every library staff member feel like they matter. That attitude works its way through an organization, and changes the way everyone relates to each other. It’s so nice!

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