Management Lessons from the Stage: Applause not Necessary

I saw a meme on Facebook recently which stated, “I do it for the fame…said no stage manager ever” and this got me to thinking about how this could apply in any workplace.

For those that don’t know, the stage manager is usually considered the second most important person in the production of a play right after the director. And when the play opens, he or she becomes the most important person to the show. Not because this person is a great actor, set designer, choreographer, lighting technician, costumer, dancer, etc., etc. No because the stage manager makes sure that each show starts on time, runs smoothly, and ends as planned. The stage manager is responsible for the literally hundreds of details that go into making a play succeed – and has to make sure that the actors get on stage when they are supposed to as well.

And how much credit does the stage manager get when the show is done for a job well done? Though he or she might hear the applause the stage manager knows none of it is for him/her. Sure other members of the production may say “nice job” but when they walk down the street no one is going to say “hey, great job stage managing last night!” Nope, it’s not about fame for these people – it’s about being part of a team and the satisfaction of a job well done.

How does this apply in your workplace? I’m willing to bet that in your organization you have someone who is working tirelessly to make sure that every project goes right. Who doesn’t make sure that s/he is noticed in a staff meeting, who doesn’t stand up to ask yet another useless question in organizational meetings just so everyone knows that they were there. Nope, I bet you have someone who is working for the satisfaction of being part of a team and the satisfaction of a job well done.

So what am I getting at? Simple:

Be sure to thank that person – often.

They don’t need applause but they do need encouragement and to know that someone notices.


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