The Power of Thank You


In a week we will be celebrating a holiday that’s all about giving thanks for what we have (including turkey and football).  But if we think about gratitude only once a year, we overlook the power of practicing it daily, especially in business.  

When I ask clients, “what is the best “thank you” you have ever received at work?”   The overwhelming responses are a handwritten thank you note or a genuine compliment from either their leader, a colleague or customer.   These simple and genuine acts of appreciation can mean the world to people.   If it’s so easy, why don’t we do it more often?

I think when it comes to our professional lives, we tend to view people more as objects (an interruption to our work) rather than human beings.  It is easy to judge, criticize and even place unrealistic expectations on those whom work closely with us.  As a leader, do you fall into the trap of taking people for granted or assume that gratitude does not apply? This oversight can be costly to your overall leadership effectiveness.

Consider in a recent study by Bersin & Associatescompanies that excel at employee recognition are 12 times more likely to have strong business results.  Imagine if you cultivated an attitude of gratitude for everyone and everything in your organization.  What results could you generate?

Here are three ideas for a gratitude mindset:

  1. Each morning make a list of three to five things you appreciate.  This requires only a moment and will help you cultivate a habit of gratitude and boost your happiness.
  2. Find ways to personalize your appreciation with your people.   Some people value acknowledgement before a group and others prefer a more private thank you.  The way you extend gratitude to others can make a big difference when people see how much you — their leader care about them.
  3. Be open to receiving feedback.  Part of expressing gratitude means really listening to and appreciating what the other person has to say.  If you show gratitude to someone who feels it is not genuine, the gesture is meaningless.

When you make the effort to cultivate an attitude of “thank you” in your thinking and actions, I am certain the results will be astounding.  Few things stick in our mind like those moments when we learn that people appreciate our efforts or we acknowledge others who have helped us.  What do you think?


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