Remember the Small Things (about others)

By | April 29, 2022

[April 29, 2022]  To us, the small things are unimportant and not worthy of our attention, but to someone else, it could be the most joyful event or issue in their lives.  Remember to acknowledge them.  Remember the small things!

In 2003, my unit was readying itself for deployment to combat.  It was a hectic time, with people busying themselves with accomplishing tasks required to be fully prepared; nothing was left undone, and nothing was too small.  Attention to detail was vital.

One morning, a young female Soldier passed by me in the headquarters hallway when I said to her, “happy birthday.”  I’d met her mother a couple of weeks prior, and her mom told me about the upcoming birthday; I didn’t forget.  The young Soldier was surprised and perhaps even taken aback that a senior officer would know her birthday.  It was a small thing to me, but my acknowledgment was to make that day memorable for her.  She would remember and she would be one of our most loyal Soldiers.

Remember the small things that are not small to others.  There are events in the lives of others that have no linkage to their work or community involvement.  We like to minimize these for that reason; our private lives stay private and out of the workplace.

Yet, we ask ourselves, why would a birthday or a proposal for marriage or graduation from a school influence our work or how we perform at our work?  The standard answer is that these “should” have no effect, and in reality they may have no actual effect.  However, the importance of it is not diminished.  Celebrate those events, show those on your team that you are sufficiently caring and humble enough to sincerely acknowledge them.

There is a grand lesson here.  People are social creatures.  They thrive when around others.  They seek to be in the company of those they know sincerely value them.  What we do and what we say to others matters a great deal.  That is why we must carefully choose how we interact.  The point is to show others we care and are willing to hold them up publically and say they are essential and not just a cog in the wheel of some giant organization.

Remembering the small things generates trust.  And trust is the glue that holds relationships together.  Loyalty, trustworthiness, courage, and honesty begins here.  Support it.  Nurture it.  Caring about others is at the core of being human.

And, always remember to acknowledge the “small” things.


Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

25 thoughts on “Remember the Small Things (about others)

  1. State of AZ

    Remember the small things, that are not really small. Those are big things for them.

  2. Qassim

    I had a friend of mine who said it was the job for others and therefore no need to ‘remember the small things’ about them. Why should we, he asked. I said that by remember the ‘big’ things (for them big, small for me), they would feel better and more motivated. He still didn’t understand. Must have been a liberal.

  3. Armywife

    Hi a!!. Aren’t we the lucky ones to get such great free insight from the General each and every day.

    1. Jonathan B.

      Got that right Armywife. I’ve been on this website now for a couple of years and love the way Gen. S. presents these topics and on occasion will deliver one that is funny. Normally very serious. All okay for me.

      1. Jerome Smith

        Same here, Jonathan. A website not to overlook. And, don’t forget the DAILY FAVORITES either. Lots of articles that also give insight into the thinking of Gen.S. and others like him.

  4. Laughing Monkey

    Gen. Satterfield, another excellent article. Over the past couple of weeks, you’ve driven home some valuable points about leadership and on being a good person. I know that your idea of ‘good’ means both moral and efficient. I agree with that position and I don’t think anyone can argue counter. Keep up the work you are doing and I look forward to your next daily post.

    1. Plato

      Right, LM. Gen. Satterfield, give us a hint on what your article tomorrow will be about. Hey, thanks.

  5. rjsmithers

    Leadership comes in many forms, yes, Gen. Satterfield, I picked up on this crucial point. And, leadership techniques come in bucket loads. This one in your article today is one I’ve seen ignored time and again. Good to know that complimenting folks pays off.

  6. Veronica Stillman

    Do not overlook this statement, “Remember the small things that are not small to others.”

    1. Kenny Foster

      Got that right Veronica. Good to see you back in the leadership forums.

  7. Army Captain

    I agree with many of the others who think this is basic human psychology but I will also note that it is largely ignored or unknown to the general population. Good idea to highlight it.

  8. Bryan Z. Lee

    Hi folks, once again I recommend you go to the “daily favorites” on a different tab of this leadership website. Gen. Satterfield brings us two articles that discuss the ‘misinformation’ that the political heavyweights are promulgating upon us. Worth reading these two articles and others like them. The truth about the suppression of the truth in American is leaking out into the public. Go find out for yourself.

    1. Karl J.

      Bryan, well said. There is a real campaign to destroy the fundamental belief in the truth of the basic understanding of humans. Like the Joe Biden admin saying that a man can give birth to a child, or that children can have sex change operations and it’s their right, or that inflation is good for us, or that Iran is a good country just misunderstood. This doesn’t count the inflation, open borders, war, spiraling crime rates, etc. This Democrat Party is a party of hate. Read more about it.

      1. USA Patriot II

        Right Karl and I only wish more would find the facts for themselves and stop believing everything they see on tv.

        1. Dead Pool Guy

          Thinking the same thing. Remember that this main page of Gen. Satterfield’s blog is not the only source of great info.

  9. Lynn Pitts

    “Celebrate those events, show those on your team that you are sufficiently caring and humble enough to sincerely acknowledge them.” Correct and that is why they are not ‘small things’ but actually important to that person. 😊

  10. Tony B. Custer

    Very good thinking here and, some of the most basic info on good leadership habits that I’ve read in a long time. Not like the crazy stuff I see today that involves all the PC wacko info/propaganda on the real motivation of people.

  11. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    This has a lot to do with the very basics of leadership and, of course, being a darn good person. Remembering the ‘important’ (Gen. Satterfield says “little” but clearly means “big”) things in the lives of others and recognizing them, helps people be loyal to you. That is good.

    1. Tom Bushmaster

      Yep, basic human psychology. But important lesson for leaders. ✔

      1. H. M. Longstreet

        Got that right. Gen. Satterfield, has once again delivered on his promise to give us a daily dose of leadership. This one certainly nailed it. Oh, I would be remiss if I didn’t plug his book, titled Our Longest Year in Iraq. Go get it. You won’t be sorry.

      2. Steve Dade

        Tom, yes, but many of our young folks don’t think so. They think this is bad.

  12. Goalie for Cal State

    Cool, one of your best posts! Keep it up, Gen. Satterfield.

    1. JT Patterson

      I agree Goalie. I see you got the first post in today, congrats.


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