Sunday, June 3, 2012

#22: Begin with praise and honest appreciation

Has anyone else noticed that one of the most common themes in these principles is "praise?"  I started my week at an end-of-school-year celebration for our two-year-old son, Tyler.  Tyler and his little classmates dressed up in t-shirts featuring their photo and walked out on stage waving homemade paper streamers.  Each child's name was announced including a nickname their teachers had created for them (e.g, Tyler "The Perfectionist" Gift).  The gym was full of adults who laughed and clapped with excitement.  Praise galore for these toddlers!

I've noticed something since I became familiar with Dale Carnegie's principles.  Our society is really good at praising children.  I'm Exhibit A.  Any video featuring Tyler that I narrate consists of my super sappy voice saying, "Good job, Tyler!  Way to go!"  From taking his first steps to singing a song to dancing his heart out... I'm right there cheering him on!  And of course, Tyler and I surprised Alan with cupcakes and a few brightly-wrapped packages for his birthday this week.  We even sang our favorite adult a rousing edition of "Happy Birthday."  What about every other day?

This week I had the opportunity to see someone in action who is a shining example of Principle 22.  I was one of my church's representatives to the Nebraska Synod gathering where the main items on the agenda were honoring our retiring bishop and electing our next synod leader.  Bishop David deFreese has been leading the Nebraska Synod for 12 years and it was obvious that he appreciates EVERYONE.  And not just a simple "thank you" or greeting-card-on-your-birthday kind of appreciation.  Each gesture of appreciation was tailored to that individual and completely heartfelt.  Bishop deFreese's gratitude warmed each person in that room.

Dale Carnegie said that Principle 22 is the first principle in the set of leadership principles and Bishop deFreese shows that he was right.  A great leader is one who lifts up those around him day after day. Who will we lift up this week?

Praise and appreciation for Tyler!!

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