Eileen Mahlow

Could my behavior undermine someone's success?

Discussion created by Eileen Mahlow Champion on Jul 28, 2017

I have been so richly blessed in my life. Two pillars in my life are encouragement and gratitude. I want to encourage others and I want to express thankfulness. It’s simply who I am. So over the years, I’ve developed the habit of writing notes of thanks or encouragement. Often, I use a little card; sometimes I simply use email.

As an example, my current company provides the opportunity to give gift cards to employees who have made a significant contribution. Instead of just handing my employee the gift card, I will usually write a card or thank you note expressing specifics of what I appreciated about their contribution. I will give them this along with the gift card.

Another example I can cite is sending a card or note of thanks to our “unsung heroes” at the office: the facilities people who set up our conference rooms and cater our events or the admins who do numerous tasks to assist us. They often go out of their way and they make my job easier by paying attention to details on my behalf. Some have expressed to me how much the card or note has meant to them. If it is a note in email, I will often copy their boss or send something to their boss that echoes my thanks.

One more example involves our summer interns.  They had to present to executives as part of their job and the ability to get a permanent job hung in the balance.  This pressure was showing on a few of the interns, so I took the time to write each of them a note to encourage them and let them know (since I had watched their practice presentation) that they were well prepared and would do a good job. 

I had a manager comment to me that my expressions of appreciation are subtle ways of undermining my own success because it is something a man would not do. So I would love to have some additional opinions on this.

In full disclosure, I must add that I am not likely to change my behavior because I like doing this and I know others appreciate it. However, as a mentor to other women, I appreciate feedback and new perspectives so I am offering them more balanced guidance.