Summond into the top editor’s office for the first time in years, the reporter’s  blood pressure rose and his heart began beating a bit faster. He thought it could only be bad news. He must have screwed up. Or worse: he was getting fired.

              Instead the editor reached into his desk before the reporter could sit down. The editor quickly tossed a small plastic bag toward the reporter who instinctively put up his right hand and snared it right out of the air.  For a second, he thought it might be a bag of pot that someone planted in his desk.

But then he gripped the bag and to his sheer relief it was anything but soft and powdery. No this was hard and gleaming with a golden flair. Then suddenly the booming voice of the editor cut through the tension. “Here, I am supposed to give you that,” harrumphed the editor.

The reporter opened his right hand and found himself holding a 5-year-service pin for his five years of experience working for that newspaper. The reporter sighed in relief as the editor took a phone call and dismissed the reporter with a wave of his hand.

(This is an excerpt of a newly relaunched book titled
LOVING Like a Leader now available on

The young reporter left the editor’s office feeling more like castigating someone than celebrating with anyone. That gold 5-year pin presentation could have left a pleasing taste in both the editor and the reporter if only the editor knew what loving leaders know: the difference between rewarding and awarding.

           In rewarding, loving leaders define, differentiate and distinguish a particular employee’s specific contribution more personally, more privately, and more sincerely. In rewarding more than simply awarding, loving leaders realize the distinction between awards and rewards:

Awards are presented.
Rewards are earned.
Awards honor past performance.
Rewards incent future performance.
Awards are event focused.
Rewards are individually focused

Event-oriented awards bring together diverse audiences who have a single interest such as the Oscars.  Award shows are platforms for the presenters as much as showcases for the performers. Award shows always reflect upon the awarder as much as the awardee. Rewards require only an audience of one. And a loving leader who cares. Personally. Sincerely. And most of all, individually.



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