Go Ahead, Make My Year
There is a small, weekly column in the Washington Post titled Animal Watch that chronicles the various adventures of animals of all kinds – dogs, cats, raccoons, eagles and more. The Animal Control Department is often called.
This column is very cleverly written and headlined. It always brings a chuckle in my household. And with the New Year underway, I decided to do something about it.
What does this have to do with leadership and why should you care about this?
In working with leaders, managers and supervisors, we always emphasize the importance of giving positive feedback, recognition and praise when due. The opposite means the only feedback employees get is negative. This does not create a good climate, and is something people may want to bear in mind in continuing to read the Partnership for Public Service’s Best Places to Work data.
On the other hand, giving positive feedback has been shown to increase levels of dopamine and serotonin, the feel-good chemicals in our bloodstreams. We’ve all experienced this, and we certainly appreciate it when it happens to us. We ride a little taller in the saddle, and perhaps may feel, deep down, that yes, at times, we are, in fact, The Man or Woman.
But, back to Animal Watch. Here are some examples of recent headlines:
Raccoon can’t make a clean getaway – this was about one found in a laundry room
One big dam rodent – about a 50-pound beaver
Severe headache for hawk – about a hawk that flew into a screened porch
Bird gets sooty – about one found in a (cold) fireplace
Stray Shih Tzu is not up to restaurant dress code at Ballston mall – about a dog that wandered into a Noodles restaurant
I have sometimes read these to my wife and daughter, and in the new year thought, it’s time to do something about all this, and so I called up one of the reporters who compiles these.
I told her I found the writing clever and humorous, and that I really appreciated the touch she brought to the column.
What followed made this small effort so worthwhile.
You could hear her happiness over the telephone, and then she said, and I quote, “You just made my year.”
Go ahead, make an employee’s (or anyone’s) year.