15 Aug 6 Reasons to Recognize a Humble Employee Who is Quietly Making a ‘Mark’


Recently, my friend and Wisconsin Athletic Club colleague, Mark Baumhardt, turned the big 4-0. To celebrate, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Eddie Martini’s in Milwaukee. During our conversation, I asked him, “What word or phrase do you think best describes you?” Mark replied, “Dependable. If someone said I was dependable, that would be the best compliment I could get.” At that moment, it hit me that Mark is the most dependable coworker that I’ve ever been around, yet one of the most underappreciated.

Pause for a Moment

Do you know dependable people who are undervalued? For real, stop and think about the Mark’s in your life who quietly and consistently make their “Marks.” You know, the humble people who make it about everyone else and not about themselves.

Many people love the idea of being humble. Humility is a value that we strive for and admire. But in a world where we reward obvious achievement, humility is often underappreciated because it’s easy to overlook… and it’s also hard to measure. Today, I want to share why we should stop taking the Mark’s in the world for granted.

6 Things Humble People Do Everyday to Make a ‘Mark’

#1. Humble people do jobs that others won’t do. Mark understands that nothing is beneath him. One day this past winter, we received the gift of a foot of snow. The next day, it was warm (relatively speaking) and the snow and ice were falling off the roof and onto the walkways… causing a safety hazard. Without prompting him, Mark blocked off the dangerous walkways, shoveled the snow, and salted the ice until the situation improved. Fast forward a few months and some basketballs got wedged in the rafters of the gym. Again, without asking him, I found Mark on the court heaving balls at the ones that were stuck until he knocked them all to the ground. On a regular basis, Mark blows leaves, waters flowers, replaces worn out stickers on fitness machines, and grills out for our leadership team meetings. Mark’s consistent behaviors make me think of the words by Frank Ocean: “Work hard in silence and let success make the noise.” Everything you do does NOT need to be seen or heard. Let your actions speak louder than words. What tasks could you do that others don’t want to do?

#2. Humble people build strong relationships. This past year, one of our athletic club members, Mr. Strothmann Jr., was blown away by Mark’s actions. Mr. Strothmann Jr. let me know that Mark came to support his son and nephew in their Jiu Jitsu tournament. Mark didn’t just show up; he stayed for the entire event. Mr. Strothmann Jr. said to me, “If Mark asked me to help him move a boulder up a mountain, I would only ask him when.” You see, caring connects… and Mark cares about others. What could you do to strengthen your relationship with someone?

#3. Humble people help others. According to a Journal of Positive Psychology study, humble people are more likely to help friends than their prideful counterparts. On numerous occasions, I’ve heard stories about Mark helping his colleagues move from one apartment to another. I’ve learned about Mark driving them to and from the airport early in the morning and late at night. Mark also spends part of his day serving others as a personal trainer. One of his clients, Mr. Byrne, shared a memorable “Mark” moment with me. On a day when Mr. Byrne and Mark were not working out together, Mr. Byrne was struggling with a “clean and press” exercise. Mark quietly walked up to Mr. Byrne to point out that he had 35 pounds on one side of the barbell and only 25 pounds on the other side. “Off the clock,” Mark was still concerned with his client’s safety. Mark is selfless. What could you do to help someone who needs your help?

#4. Humble people do what’s right. Do you recall when I asked Mark what one word best describes him, and he said “dependable?” Well, Mark went on to say, “If I had two words, I’d add something that I learned from my mom and dad… integrity.” Mark parks in the right spot, doesn’t miss a meeting, wears his uniform, and won’t walk past a gum wrapper. Since 2006, Mark has always done the right thing for our members and clubs. Do you always strive to do the right thing?

#5. Humble people listen. Besides being a personal trainer, Mark helps to manage our maintenance department. My Service Manager, Kim Miller, described a time when Mark went on vacation when she was still fairly new in her role. Before Mark left for a week, Kim said to him, “I’m glad that you are taking some time away, but I’m a bit nervous that everything will be OK. I don’t have the connection that you have with the maintenance team.” Knowing that Kim was worried, Mark listened and understood her concern. He regularly took precious time away from his vacation to check in with her. Do you really listen to others?

#6. Humble people acknowledge others. Whenever Mark catches someone doing something right, he lets me know… and follows up with me until I praise the person, too. For example, Mark recently shared with me that laundry team member and MOD, Andy Lidwin, doesn’t miss a thing when he cleans the locker rooms. Mark also let me know that one of our newer personal trainers, Cole Radtke, is one of our most positive and hard-working employees. Mark enjoys lifting others up. For that reason, Mark has a team that would run through a wall for him. Who should you recognize for going above and beyond the call of duty?

The Secret Sauce

This past week, I asked my team, “What word or phrase do you think best describes Mark?” They responded with dependable, reliable, follows through, gets stuff done, trustworthy, fun to hang out with, knowledgeable, detail-oriented, loyal, positive, helpful, selfless, indispensable, team player, go-to person, hard-working, passionate, and humble.

Being humble means putting the good of others, and of the organization, ahead of yourself. I don’t know if there is an exact “secret sauce” for humility, but if there was, Mark personifies it. Mark, it’s an absolute pleasure working with you. Thank you for being you, and thank you for making a positive difference in everyone’s life around you.

Today, make the choice to recognize a humble person who is quietly making a “Mark.”

ACTION: Think about a humble colleague, friend, or family member. Next, write down some characteristics that make him or her humble. Finally, praise this person for being humble by taking them out for lunch, writing them a handwritten note, or customizing some recognition that they would appreciate.

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