APPRECIATION by Nick Nicholson

Nick with Awards

Recently I was very honoured to receive the Risk/Safety Professional of the Year Award from nominations submitted by Glen Harvey and George Skotidas, fellow Members of our FSC Chapter.

Inside, I don’t really feel I deserve this but, I am thrilled that the most important people in my life and that surround me, think I do and voted to make it happen. Thank You, one and all!

This has me thinking about appreciation. It is the absolute greatest feeling to be appreciated for something and it is a touch that happens to so few people. Criticism, on the other hand, we can find everywhere and with just about everything. Even our jokes involve criticism and somebody, somewhere feels “put down”. It is much easier to believe the bad stuff and consequently our self-esteem suffers.

Talking “sensitivity” around our Chapter is a bit of a joke because they all know that I produced a Sensitivity Course that was adopted by our Federal Government. This, they think is funny because I am probably the most insensitive person you’ll ever meet. Archie Bunker comes to mind.

However, the very first sensitivity course I ever took was presented by a young lady (tragically died shortly after) from the City of Mississauga who demonstrated to us how a gesture of appreciation makes everybody feel good. As an exercise of the class at lunch time, we were to compile and deliver a message about the service of the “take-out” food establishment that we had collectively called to supply our order.

It was amazing. The attention we paid to the call taker, the quality of the food preparation, the packaging, and the delivery person was very detailed. After the meal, we went on speaker phone and called the manager of the establishment to express our gratitude to each person and asked him to forward our experience on to his staff. Wow, what a wonderful incident! Our effort took a small amount of time, at no cost to us, and was done on our lunch break and yet, we all felt wonderful. My father often used an expression: “The hand that bestows the flowers retains most of the scent.” He was right.

Conversely, I once had a boss who flatly declared that he didn’t believe in incentives for his staff.  In his opinion, he paid us to work and anything and everything we did was expected. He quite often came out with the appropriate words to thank people or profess “a job well done”, but it always came across as being phoney lip service after that. He demonstrated that he had no respect for the people working for him and looking back, I’m not surprised to see a fast turnover of staff and a large volume of “whiners” and “moaners” among those who stayed. It was like a pocket of pus infiltrating the company!

In my memory, every individual who ever tried to take it upon themselves to improve that organization in some way was “shot down” by this boss. It automatically left you feeling unwanted, left out, inept and unwilling to suggest anything helpful in the future. Very quickly that feeling gets around to other staff, the customers and the general public. It becomes a hard environment to live in. The opinion about the company suffers and eventually the business dies. It’s a horrible feeling to watch a beautiful and winning concept wash down the drain.

Both appreciation and criticism can be given at no cost by the Nick-2015provider but, the end result for all is the difference between what’s extremely good and extremely bad. What do you think is preferable?

I don’t know how my competition felt the other day during this award process but, I’m willing to bet, because of the kind of people they are, that they were pleased for me. I probably had a distinct advantage because I am older than they are and have had more time to devote to the profession.

I know that there still are “the takers” of the world but, I suggest to you that those people do not feel good about themselves. They may get things for nothing to a point but, eventually, it comes back to haunt them in one fashion or another.

Safety is a very interesting and rewarding business. The sharing of “safety” itself is a wonderful feeling.  If one can influence somebody, anybody, into leading a safer life that keeps them from harm then, we all live better lives.

Keep the “shiny side up” folks, whether you are driving or just living life. Always look for the “good” in people. It is there, somewhere. Appreciate it and it comes back tenfold!

Keep your people safe.

The beauty of life is in your hands.

About the Author

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council

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