Acknowledged and Appreciated…Just in Time!


At a keynote address I gave to Toastmasters Regional Conference in Houston, Texas this spring, I was very taken by the story shared by a participant, Rennette Lucien, English teacher and Debate Coach, at Jack Yates High School.  In fact, I was so taken by it that I asked to write it up for all of us afterward. And this is what she said: 

“I work at an inner city school in Houston, Texas and at the end of the school year, one of our special education teachers had requested to move to another campus and this was approved. I was told that she had asked for the transfer because she didn’t feel appreciated here and that the environment was not one where she felt happy and content. As a show of appreciation for what she had truly accomplished with her scholars, her department hosted a going-away  reception for her. At the reception, colleagues gave her gifts and expressed their appreciation for the work she had done because it was quite evident in the progress of the scholars. They thanked her for being a team player and a valued person in the special education department. Because of the love she received on that day, she rescinded her transfer. Now the catch to this is that the receiving principal did not want to let her rescind because it would leave the school with a hard to fill position. After some days, she agreed to release her from her transfer, though, because the principal did not want an unhappy teacher on her campus! WOW! ”  

And “WOW” is really the appropriate exclamation to use here. MOST stories like this one DON’T have such a happy ending. I know this to be true because I asked as a survey question in IIL’s Grateful Leadership On Demand course how many of the thousands of registrants had ever left a job due to lack of appreciation. The number was astounding! In fact, I will be publishing the results of this and two other survey questions that I posed in the next few weeks. Once people decide to leave a job or a company due to lack of appreciation, they are gone and that is the sad end to their — and our — story. 

I was delighted to hear this moving example of a woman who was big-hearted enough to allow the last minute appreciation and acknowledgment in, in spite of her previous experiences, and to let it change the outcome she had already committed to. And I commend the Principal who preferred to lose a valued candidate over having an unhappy one on her staff. 

But let’s not let it get to the point that our people leave due to lack of appreciation! We can all take action now and let those we value and care about know the wonderful difference that they make — to us, to our teams, to our organizations and communities.

Until the next time…