The Importance of Importance

A friend of mine shared a negative experience he recently had with their boss. I won’t get into details of this specific incident but it sounded like this was one in a string of behaviors in which he was left feeling, in his words, “totally unimportant.”

The dictionary says we know something is important when it is “marked by or indicative of significant worth” or something is “valuable in content or relationship.” As leaders, our words, actions, and time will always be a reflection of what is valuable and important to us.

If an unconnected third-party were to ask the people on your team if they feel important or valuable, what would their response be? Obviously, our hope would be that they would say “Why yes I do.” In today’s corporate environment however, I am sensing many people would respond differently and as with the case of my friend, would say they are actually being neglected by their leaders.

I believe this frequently occurs unintentionally. My friend mentioned he felt this was “just his managers style.” A leader may be focusing on other things such as the bottom-line, their own career growth, or their own projects. All important but this will, however, leave a giant blind-spot in a leaders effectiveness, impact and legacy.

When people are valuable to us we treat them differently. When people feel valued they treat their work differently. They begin to walk with a spring in their step. They tend to work even harder for you. They become more confident and willing to try new things.

So with this short post I would just like to encourage you to take a few minutes today to make someone (or everyone) feel valued. You can do this by:

Telling them. Go up to someone and sincerely tell them how valuable they are to you. Even the people who you think would not need to hear it are probably having doubts floating around their head so just do it.

Showing them. Take them out for lunch. Give them something they would normally never ask for. If someone has been working 12 hour days, give them a PTO-free day off. Be creative, be different, make it meaningful but show them how much they are valued.

Spending valuable time with them. Recently, another friend of mine shared with me how the president of his company was a shining example of this by sacrificing his time. What was to be short knowledge-sharing session at 3pm lasted well into the evening. My friend said he learned more in those 5 hours than in previous years combined. The president could have stopped the meeting at any time but because he didn’t my friend walked away appreciated and valued.

Transformational leadership begins to emerge when we begin relating to people outside of the normally expected “management” practices. Today is a good day to start.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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