Last week we were watching one of the “feel good” backstories behind one of the Olympic teams, and the coach made a comment that stopped Jamie in his tracks. He mentioned that the leadership skill he works the hardest on is always making a conscious effort to address his players and coaches by name. Jamie is about to take command of an Intelligence company next month, so he really took to heart the idea of personalizing the way he speaks to the solders in his company.
My mom and I have talked before that this is a quality we’ve always deeply admired about my youth pastor growing up (also the man that married Jamie and me). He consistently impressed my parents for years by greeting them by name. My mom says that every time she saw him, he would smile and say “Hi Nancy!”. With hundreds of students in our youth group and then hundreds of more parents of those youth, it always impressed her that he memorized and used peoples’ names in his greetings.
I just ran into my pastor and his family back in April when I was visiting Alabama, and as usual he greeted me with a smile, a hug, and a “Hey Erica!”
There’s just something about when someone uses your name (especially someone you don’t know well or haven’t seen in a while) that makes you feel noticed and valued.
After having this recent conversation with Jamie, I started noticing that I love when people address Hadley by her name. Since we live in a small(ish) town, it’s impossible not to run into someone everywhere we go, and I think it’s so neat when we run into an acquaintance who speaks directly to Hadley and greets her by her name. I don’t want to think too much into it, but it warms my heart when others speak to her directly and individualize her by greeting her by name, even though she’s only two.
I think for some people this is a natural strength (to remember and use others’ names), and for others it’s more of a struggle that has to be worked on. I fit in the latter group, but since having this conversation last week we both agree that this is a skill we want to consciously improve on.
What’re your thoughts on this subject? Do you know someone who does an exceptional job at remembering and using others’ names?