Week 10-March 27, 2008--Chapter 11 & 12

Nicely done Bridget!

“Recognition is important, challenging, and easily forgotten—so pay attention and don’t forget to say ‘thanks.’” (p. 279)

A very real and present example is my boss’s consistent recognition of my work. When I started working for him I heard a lot of scary, mean stories about how he was an inappropriately demanding boss, I was even warned and cautioned by the HR department that should the arrangement not work, I was welcome to return to my old post. What I found was a boss who is very grateful and appreciative to a fault. For example, I might send e-mails for an event, with CCs to him; he always makes a point to send a “thanks ‘P” note. I would often smile and think well: “well you do pay me to do this!”

It initially caught me off-guard and then I thought he just liked to say it because, and then a co-worker and I discussed the effects. I learnt from her that our boss was one of the most encouraging and edifying supervisors she had—of course I agreed! But what I failed to realize then was the working environment my boss was inadvertently creating for us. He is very, very, very hardworking and most prolific individual (so I guess people feel like he is too demanding), I like to call him the “Clint Eastwood of Criminology.” So we are often doing a lot, and it can be easy to get frustrated with situations, and inadvertently the boss. But I always remember it is not personal, I have a job to do, and I must perform excellently.

One thing that my boss has taught me is to always recognize, appreciate and express gratitude—even if it is an expected task. Sometimes, now, when I get his thanks-‘P notes, I reply with a “you’re welcome M” note! So like the initial quote (above) I am working hard to make sure I don’t forget. I do pay attention to such acts, as they do go a long way to fostering a positive professional environment.


Bridget, I appreciate your scenario. It not only depicts a boss who is trying to boost employee moral but also exemplifies how this communication is a two-way street. Like we have talked about in class, leadership can take a passive role in some cases. In your situation, I see your positive observance to how your boss is creating atmosphere to be a very valiant quality. I liked your comment that “it is not personal” because it means that you are not attaching yourself to the effects of the job. This quality is rarely seen in the workplace, which is probably why people work too hard and stress too much (And what about workplace drama? That too is an effect of attachment).

As is true with most people your boss also has faults. He would be useless if he did not. His insufficiencies are prime examples of where the employees can be most valuable. Instead of being looked at as weaknesses, they can be viewed as areas in which you can hold a leadership role. It seems that, by your understanding of the workplace, you get this so I won’t belabor the point. Thanks for being a reminder to others who have trouble seeing the light in their job.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs