Appreciate Others to Uncover Hidden Heroes

Would you love to lead a team of super heroes?

Movies based on super heroes are quite the rage these days. As I write this, Incredibles 2 has just come out and I haven’t seen it yet.

But, I can’t help but wonder why we keep making our heroes more and more powerful. It used to be that we saw the hero in ourselves. These days, we expect the hero to come from another planet or be the result of some special gifting or some catastrophe. We create a separate class of creatures and exclude ourselves. Maybe, if we aren’t given hero characteristics, we don’t have to act like a hero. Maybe this is a way of letting ourselves off the hook.

But on my team at work, I’d like my team members to be super heroes. I’d like people who achieve great results. I’d like people who complete their tasks on time, do things better than required, and have extra ability to forgive me when I screw up. And I’m sure they’d like me to be a super hero, too.

So is there a key? If I had to pick one thing, it would be to appreciate people.

I enjoy people who enjoy me. I want to be around people who want to be around me. Don’t you? Do you find that the people who appreciate you are the ones you want to be with the most?

What happens if we start every relationship by appreciating the other person?

How, might you ask? Well, we try to add value. Express gratitude. Be grateful for their contribution and look objectively at the things you take credit for. Genuine appreciation will show up in a number of ways, and so will the reverse.

Many of my most embarrassing moments at work stemmed from failing to appreciate others. I over-estimated the value of my contribution and underestimated the value of the contributions made by others. The single best advice I can always give myself is to appreciate other people and focus on them. Putting others first increases the chances they’ll measure up. Appreciating others increases their value in my eyes and in their own. And we all appreciate being appreciated.

Everyone is special, unique, one of a kind. Many people, out of fear or lack of self-awareness, have settled for jobs where they’re not a great fit. Others are worried how others perceive them so they work to present an image. If you’re the boss, many people think their job is to make you right. But when you invest time in them personally, you learn what makes them tick. Your interest in them may help them be more transparent, and bring them out of their shell. I wonder how much energy we each waste trying to live up to the images we create.

Don’t judge or force your values on others. Rather demonstrate respect by finding ways to understand and appreciate what they value. You never know. When you see them for who they really are, you may find they’re all incredible.