Gary’s November Gems – The Importance of Giving Attention
Bragging is bad. That’s what most of us were raised to believe. People who brag crave attention. Perhaps it’s because they’re narcissists or they sadly didn’t get enough attention as children. I got lots of attention at home – usually for the wrong reasons.
I’m much better at giving compliments than receiving them. So imagine how uncomfortable I was at the recent conference’s closing night Gala when I heard my name called from the stage. I was called to the stage to accept the Hall of Fame Award. Leading up to that moment, I felt something was up as I noticed people looking my way as the speaker described why this awardee was chosen. As she went on, I slowly shrank in my chair like a grade nine student avoiding the teacher’s question.
“This year’s CAM-X Hall of Fame inductee is Gary Blair of i24 Call Management Solutions.”
I don’t remember the walk to the podium nor what I said, but I’ve since heard that I was surprisingly coherent and, in fact, quite eloquent. Fortunately, there’s a video of my acceptance speech that confirms that.
Recognising others’ qualities has been foremost in my mind lately. The keynote speaker at that same conference was Sarah McVanel. She’s an internationally respected expert on employee recognition. I first met Sarah four years prior while attending another conference where she gave the keynote address. We have since been in touch and recently invited her to address our employees. It was a massive success.
One of the outcomes was that everyone had an opportunity to receive and give attention in a display of group engagement. She was a hit, and everyone was captivated and motivated throughout the day. Sarah is a big supporter of i24 as well as a vocal evangelist for our own “WOW” recognition program, which was created to make everyone feel that they matter.
You don’t have to be a star to warrant attention; you need only live your life according to the golden rule. In a previous gem, Gary’s May Gems – A Clarion Call for Civility, I wrote, ”We need to be kind to reap kindness. We need to make civility contagious.”
Many people deserve attention. Every person has a story and a gift to share. As I age, I feel wiser but also less visible. It’s as if no one appreciates how worldly I am. 😉 As far as I know, my birth certificate didn’t have a best-before date stamped on it. We make assumptions about people all the time based on their appearance, their manner or their ethnicity. From those observations, we calculate how much time and attention they’re worth.
Everyone feels invisible sometimes, employees included. This is especially true of those who are invested in what they do. They work towards fulfilling the vision of the company. These are the people we need to give more attention to. Instead, we tend to respond to the “squeaky wheels”.
The “great resignation” and “quiet quitting” are buzzwords we see everywhere as employers in every industry struggle to adapt to this “new reality”. Life is a cacophony of “ Look at me! Look at me!” on every social platform imaginable. It seems everyone wants affirmation and validation, and they’ll accept whatever kind of attention that brings it to them. Unfortunately, attention can be ephemeral. It fades as someone appears louder, prettier or more outrageous.
I find that those who give without expectation of recognition always deserve our attention the most.