I had a wonderful neighbor years ago that I loved to talk with while she tended her flower gardern. One day she said to me, “Do you know what I like best about you? You speak so well of others. You talk so well of your wife. You share the joys of your work. You recommend your friends to others. That’s a wonderful quality.” While I enjoyed the compliment, I also thought long and hard about her words, and I wondered why more people don’t do the same.
One of the greatest joys of being a leader comes when we have an opportunity to recognize others for their hard work. Recognizing is important and something all leaders should do. Recognizing and promoting are not, however, the same. Recognizing could be accomplished in private, but when we promote someone, well, that is the ultimate form of recognition because you are attaching yourself to it and sharing it publicly.
My mom would always compliment my artwork, but the greatest memories I remember were when she hung it on the fridge, or told her friends about it. I loved that. I still do. So… hang someone’s work on the proverbial fridge and promote them.
Don’t promote others expecting something in return for yourself. It very likely will happen, but that is the wrong reason to do it. Promote others because you are genuinely impressed with their work. Make note, however, when you promote the work of others routinely it always benefits you down the road. It doesn’t benefit you occassionaly, it benefits you regularly, but again, that’s not why you do it, and you can’t do it occassionally. Your promotion of others needs to become a part of your leadership style.
And once you get a reputation for promoting the work of others, you won’t believe the work people do for you! (Click “Read More” to find out how to really apply this leadership skill.)
Look at your workplace and find someone doing a great job. Look for someone who went above and beyond on a specific project or just in general. Maybe it is a trait you wish others possessed. Now you can provide some recognition for their work, and you should, but instead consider promoting the work to others. Nominate them for some community, state, or national recognition. Regardless of whether “others” choose them, you nominated them. You can do it publically or anonymously. Maybe they will cross-promote your work too, but do it because it is the right thing to do. It’s what leaders do.
Make a point as a leader to promote others. There are so many ways to do it and it all really matters.
- Promote the work of others within and outside your organization.
- Be first to share and recognize the success of others.
- Be first to purchase someone’s product or service.
- Call another organization and recommend the outstanding service or product you received.
- Write a book review for a friend who published a book.
- Make some calls for your buddy that is in a band.
- Use your social media to promote others, not yourself.
- Don’t just hit like. Share it.
- Write a comment. Yep, forget the emojis and type some words.
- Write a letter of recommendation without even being asked.
- Write a testimonial.
- Introduce them to others prefacing their accomplishments.
- Tell others when the person isn’t around. You know… good gossip!
- Get on the loudspeaker and make an announcement. Be loud. Be proud.
- Start your own recognition or distinction if none exist. You’re a leader! Get on it!
What about self-promotion? Marketing is important. Sharing good news is fun. You need to do both, but may I make a suggestion? Most people self-promote. Why? They do it because others aren’t. Promote the work of others ten times to every one time promoting yourself. You might be happily surprised when someone returns a favor and promotes your good work to their tribe.
I see so many people using social media wrong. They complain. They point out the flaws. They are trolls. Anyone can ridicule. Few can identify the example. Leaders promote.