I can live for two month on a good compliment” – Mark Twain
A strange thing happened to me the other day.
It was the morning after my final shift, my first day off and I was feeling like death warmed up. The dreaded Man Flu had developed overnight due to the previous night’s job.
I had been lucky enough to land on a suspect whom we had been chasing for months. He was the thorn in our side. He had been breaking into properties and stealing thousands of pounds worth of other people’s property almost every other night since the turn of 2013. He had even targeted one particular property several times.
Whilst out patrolling I had dropped on him mid theft and he fled in his vehicle. Long story short, he drove into a bog, was chased by myself (single crewed with no backup anywhere near me) across said bog. I was literally knee deep in mud, water, rats and animal excrement. But this particular pile of excrement whom I was chasing was now caught and cuffed and a thousand pounds worth of property was recovered.
Like I said, I was single crewed with no immediate back up and so after the suspect had been collected and carted off to a nice warm cell, I was left knee deep in the bog awaiting recovery of the suspect’s vehicle. Fast forward 3 hours and I was wet, frozen, numb and I could feel the onset of hypothermia. Had I been left their any longer I dare say I would have been in trouble. Not once did anybody offer to assist or ask if I was ok. I do not blame my colleagues for this because we were stretched beyond our limits. Once I had thawed out back at the station, by this time working 4 hours past my finish time and still on my own because there is not enough money to pay two officers overtime, I began the obligatory mountain of clerical work which comes with such an arrest. But I didn’t care. I was happy with myself for catching somebody who had been causing the public misery and the Police a headache for way too long.
Six hours past my home time I finally got home to bed and like I mentioned above, the dreaded Man Flu had arrived and is still here as I write. I awoke the next day feeling crap. I was ill, fed up and annoyed that there was nobody to help me out or even offer. I was angry that, as is becoming the norm these days, I had no supervision working to ensure somebody helped out whilst I was literally stuck in the mud or agree to pay somebody overtime to help with the clerical.
I was just recounting the story over a coffee with Mrs H when my mobile phone rang and my Inspector’s name appeared on the screen. I believe my exact words were
Here we go. What have I forgotten to do now? Time for a bollocking…
I slid my finger across the screen and greated my boss and I am happy to say that I WAS WRONG! It doesn’t happen often (well, not too often perhaps) but this time I was wrong. The conversation went something like this;-
BOSS – Sherlock how ya feeling?
SH – Like crap if I’m honest boss. I’m sure I had hypothermia last night and now I’ve got Man Flu
BOSS – Ah, sorry to hear that, Listen, I was just calling because…
SH – Go on boss, what have I forgotten to do?
BOSS – No no not at all, quite the opposite in fact. I am calling to say thank you. You did an excellent job last night and the Chief Super’ has asked me to pass on his thanks too. Really good job. Well done.
Well I almost dropped my phone in shock! Not only had my Inspector taken time out of his day to call me at home and say thank you when he could have just sent an email to be picked up days later, BUT he was also passing on a thanks from the Chief Superintendant! It really did make my day and made all those grumbles and moans just 2-3 minutes earlier seem irrelevant. It had never happened before in all my years in the job. It was NICE to feel appreciated.
Then it dawned on me that I can honestly not recall the last time a boss of any rank had actually said “WELL DONE” or even “THANK YOU”. Not just to me, but to my colleagues who work equally as hard if not harder at times. It really does make a massive difference.
Recognition and praise are two of the human races’ biggest cravings. We yearn for praise. From being young kids getting praised by our parents all the way through to our adult lives, we NEED praise, recognition, appreciation and acceptance.
A simple yet sincere “thank you” can make a persons day. It gives a person a sense of PRIDE. It fills their self esteem and fuels their ego. We all have an ego. Deep inside every one of us is the desire for a feeling of importance and approval. Some people fuel their ego far too much and it can have a very destructive effect on their personality (I am sure we all know a few people like that) but for many, just a little ego boost can increase confidence and satisfaction. It can make a person work harder.
I am not suggesting that supervisors turn into namby pamby nursery teachers and handle officer with kid gloves giving us a pat on the back every two seconds but the importance of a simple “Thanks”, especially from higher up the food chain, can not be overlooked.
One of the main causes of dissatisfied workers is failing to give employees credit and say thank you (No it’s not the Tories despite what you may think). Sincere praise and compliments have powerful effects on people and with morale as low as it can get within the Police right now I think those in charge should follow in the footsteps of my boss and once in a while take a few seconds to say “Thank You” to those on the ground. It will not mend the damage being done by the government at the moment but it will sweeten the bitter pill a little.
If you are working this weekend then stay safe and THANK YOU
SherlockMr for all the efforts and allowing us to place this brilliant blog on UKPO.
You too can follow