by Napoleon Hill
The most intense yearning of every normal person is for recognition of his value and worth as an individual human being.
More than money, more than fame, more than any material thing, this is the greatest reward you can give anyone - to let him know that you appreciate him for himself alone, rather than for what he can do for you.
Man's fate in this existence is, in essence, a lonely one.
Except for faith in the Creator, each is born alone and dies alone. Although it may be possible to postpone someone's death through our own sacrifice, no one actually can die for another.
Each ultimately faces the end of earthly existence as a matter strictly between himself and God. It is this subconscious realization that causes Man his essential loneliness, that causes him to strive so mightily for the appreciation of his fellows.
Psychiatrists and psychologists are coming to realize, as philosophers and priests have realized for centuries, that this is the basic drive of Mankind - not sex, or the urge for security, but the demand for simple, egotistical recognition.
None of us has so long to live that we can afford to waste a precious moment in such a negative way as carping criticisms of others. But every moment spent in praise of someone else rebounds to our own credit. For nowhere is it more true that like begets like than in this instance.
That doesn't mean that you must engage in fatuous flattery or apple polishing. Nor does it meant that you must overlook errors and ineptness in subordinates.
But it does mean that every word of criticism you offer should be given in a spirit of helpful instructiveness, with a view to making the subject a better person, a better worker, than he was before. It also means that you are willing to recognize the good points as well as the bad and give them greater weight of appreciation.
It will help you, too, to remember than no man or woman is entirely free of the drive for recognition. That includes your superiors as well as your subordinates. Your boss at this moment is probably more tired, more lonely, and more disheartened than you realize. He would appreciate a word of sincere praise from you every bit as much as the one you hope to receive from him. As a matter of tactfulness, too, beware of the person who invites you to "go ahead and criticize me. I want your honest opinion." Few of us are so self-disciplined that we actually enjoy criticism. Such an invitation is merely a sign of a person's need for recognition. Mankind's greatest punishment for miscreants lies not in the bars and strict discipline of prison life. It's in the eradication of the prisoner's individuality - the uniforms, the numbers, the deliberate withdrawal of recognition.
The true leader in the military service carefully guards the individual ego of each subordinate. Although realizing the need for discipline and uniformity, he also realizes the inherent dangers they hold as killers of personality and spirit. Hence, he makes sure that each man knows that he is valued and respected as an individual person.
By adopting the same attitude, you will be taking a tremendous step toward becoming a leader yourself.
Source: Success Unlimited April 1966. Pgs. 33 & 34.
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