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A Great Management Lesson, A Story of Appreciation

What makes a good manager? Is knowing how to appreciate the work of subordinates and of other people a mark of a good manager? What is appreciation?

a story of appreciation

a story of appreciation

This is a powerful message in our modern society. We seemed to have lost our bearing & our sense of direction.

One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company.

He passed the first interview; the director did the last interview, made the last decision.

The director discovered from the Curriculum Vitae that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, never had a year when he did not score.

The director asked, “Did you obtain any scholarships in school?” the youth answered “none”.

The director asked, “Was it your father who paid for your school fees?” The youth answered, “My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.”

The director asked, “Where did your mother work?” The youth answered, “My mother worked as clothes cleaner.”

The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The director asked, “Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?” The youth answered, “Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books.”  Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.

The director said, “I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother’s hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.”

The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the kid.

The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.

This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in the mother’s hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.

After finishing the cleaning of his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.

That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.

Next morning, the youth went to the director’s office.

The Director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes, asked: “Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?”

The youth answered, “I cleaned my mother’s hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes’

The Director asked, “please tell me your feelings.”

The youth said,

Number 1: I know now what appreciation is. Without my mother, there would not the successful me today.

Number 2: By working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done.

Number 3: I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship.

The director said, “This is what I am looking for to be my manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.”

Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company’s performance improved tremendously.


A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop “entitlement mentality” and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent’s efforts.

When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others.

For this kind of people, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel sense of achievement. He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying the kid instead?


You can let your kid live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters.

It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow gray, same as the mother of that young person.

The most important thing is your kid learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.

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  1. Awesome article, a good read, full of insightful wisdom. I enjoyed reading it as I learned not only a lesson on management but about how to nurture and mold a child.

  2. Jenny, thanks for your nice comment, for reading my post, and for dropping by. Hope to see you around again.

  3. Loved the story. I remember how my mother taught us to do the chores when we were still young. Now, I appreciate all of that being a mother myself. I just pray that I could effectively pass on to my children the value of hard work and perseverance – a lesson which they will treasure throughout their life.

  4. “A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop “entitlement mentality” and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent’s efforts.”

    OUCH! I got to get my 3 sons and their mother to read that.

    Thanks for this great article, Eli.

    Have a splendid weekend.

  5. I appreciate your sharing this story. It’s a good reminder that what we’ve been doing to our kids (sharing household responsibilities, etc) is best for them. This is a must-read for parents and kids alike. Cheers!

  6. WOW!! I feel the same way as “Windy”…my wife and two sons would need to read this article also.

    I am glad that my mother taught all of us to cook, clean, do laundry…basically to be self-sufficent. I’ll have to try harder to do the same with my boys!

    Thanks for sharing! Happy Holidays

  7. Hi Eli,

    This is known as emotional intelligence. The society focuses only on what the mind knows, and seldom on what the heart knows. But things such as perseverance, and understanding of other to create synergy is something that a person with high emotional intelligence can understand. This is why after graduation, a lot of people who did well in school did not do well at work (or in their career).

  8. Upon reading such a terrific article i was so touched myself. His mom was an ideal mother that shows such great sacrifice for his future. The story will struck most of the children who are neglecting and unmindful of their parents’ love. As a mom myself, merely raising a child in way to a successful life is a big sacrifice, how much more when you raised them alone and with a meager income to support. Love it so striking!!! Worth reading

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