Tag Archives: Gratitude

When You Are Grateful Do You Show It?

Thank you noteThis past weekend was Memorial Day here in the US which is a time for our country to stop and say thank you to all of our military, past and present.  It’s a wonderful way of acknowledging the gift of service these men and women give to the rest of us.  We also have many other, less formal, days of recognition throughout the year like boss’s day, admin assistant day, grandparent’s day, etc.  Why limit our thanks to a handful of days a year?

This past Saturday my son’s scout troop place small flags on the graves of veterans in two of the local cemeteries under the direction of a gentleman from the American Legion.  As the boys finished up he thanked them for their help in recognizing our veterans.  Before we left my son went over to him and thanked him for his service to our country.  The look of surprise and appreciation in his eyes was worth the moment it took to nudge my son into action.  To have a teenager go out of his way to say thanks obviously meant a lot to him.  This happened during a time when, as a country, we go out of our way to say thank you to the military members.  It reminded me that sometimes the small gestures mean more than grand events.

As leaders we should be looking for ways to appreciate the people around us.  Saying thanks for a good job, thanking someone for their extra effort, congratulations on a project well executed, complimenting someone on a good idea, recognizing that a person stepped up to solve a problem, the list is endless.  Often our organizations have formal methods for rewarding and recognizing people.  While these are great and needed, the simple human contact of personally looking someone in the eye and saying “Thank You” means more to them.  I still have a hand written thank you note a senior manager wrote to me after a project I worked on over 15 years ago.  It made me feel good to receive that acknowledgement of my contribution.

Studies show that people will do the things that are recognized.  If all we notice and comment on in our daily interactions are mistakes, problems, and challenges then we will get more mistakes, problems and challenges.  If we spend time recognizing the often quiet work well done, problems solved without help, challenges met then we will get more work well done, problems solved and challenges met.  We get what we focus on most.  This is also the time for a personal touch, not an electronic one.  If possible thank the person face-to-face.  It doesn’t have to be in front of a group or a big production, just stop focus on them and share your appreciation.  If you are dealing with people who work remotely from you, make the phone call and only discuss your appreciation.

Also, make sure to do this as close to the time the event occurred as you can.  This amplifies the meaning of the thanks.  It is possible that you will not learn of it for a while, that’s okay as long as you jump on the chance to recognize the behavior.  You can say “I just heard about what you did … Thank you.”  It will still carry enormous power.

Simple acts of gratitude will earn loyalty from your team.  They will know that you appreciate them and they will respond in kind.  Take the time to recognize the good in your team.  As well, look for ways to say thanks to your boss and your peers.  All of us could use a kind word, and the further up the ladder you go the less often you hear them.  Go first and show your gratitude.

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Filed under Communication, Leadership, Team Building

Have You Said Thank You Lately?

When was the last time you said Thank You to a co-worker?  Recently I had a conversation with one of my client’s regional managers.  We spent an hour discussion the needs of his team for the upcoming year.  It was a great conversation with a manager who was sincerely concerned about the development of the people below him, himself and the overall organization.  It was refreshing and enlightening.  The best part of the whole experience was the thank you email I got from him a couple of hours later. 

In this email the manager said Thanks, it was good talking to you and that he looked forward to working with me in the future.  I can honestly tell you it made my day.  I was doing what I needed to do as part of my contract, and I really enjoy helping this group find new solutions to their challenges.  They are a great group, but that very short note really made an impact on me.  I responded immediately and told him he made my day when we next spoke.  His small act of gratitude took a normal business interaction from good to great! 

Many of us have taken to heart the idea of being grateful for the things in our lives and we say thanks to the people we care about more often.  But how many of us take a moment to say thank you at work?  It seems that this simple act is too often neglected in the pursuit of goals and results.  However, it can be one of the simplest ways to build strong, positive relationships with co-workers and customers.  Who doesn’t like to be told thank you?  Recognition is one of the greatest motivators and honest gratitude is one of the most powerful forms of recognizing someone’s efforts.  As a leader recognizing your team’s efforts informally and in the moment can create good will that helps them through the rough times.

My reaction to the simple thank you note reminded me how important it is to recognize people’s efforts and how easy it can be.  We just have to take a brief moment and say “Thank You”.  I know that I will be showing more gratitude from now on.

Thank you for spending some of your time reading my post.  I hope you have a great day!

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Filed under Leadership, Team Building