In every culture, we celebrate our heroes and in modern workplaces, the CEO, Director, or other Senior Managers are our biggest heroes. We have magazines dedicated to them, front covers of them in suits, on a boat, out hunting or another situation that signals power, worship and heroism.
What we tend to forget and hardly ever praise are the true heroes of any organization: Those that get things done. The “go-to guys/gals”, who can fix any problem, help any customer, get any product launched on time or help land any new client. The woman who knows how the systems worked so transactions run smoothly. The man who is an encyclopedia of customer knowledge. The newcomer who takes pride in warehouse orders being shipped on time or has the energy to smile to every customer over the phone.
The true heroes of any successful organization are the ones nobody knows about. They are the ones who ensure we succeed daily. They keep us from failing, help us put out fires, and educate and inspire their colleagues. They are the members of the organization that give to their colleagues and customers beyond what their job title would imply.
As a leader, our success depends on having and keeping these people on our teams by being the best possible leader for them. An important part of that is recognizing their contribution. They may be unsung heroes but should never be uncelebrated. Make sure their contributions are acknowledged to themselves, their peers and top management.
A simple recipe for achievement is to identify the cornerstones of your team and keep them happy. Recognize their performance and your own will follow.