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April 19, 2010 - 1:12pm

P is for People: What’s in a Thank you?

posted by Session Placeholder in business, Blogs, Leadership, The World: By Phil.
Do you remember when you were a kid? Every time that someone gave you a piece of candy at the store, or a cookie at a neighbor’s house, your parents would always chime in with, “What do you say?” Flash forward however many years later (No, ladies I am not asking any ages, my mama taught me better than that!) Now as an adult you find yourself running around like crazy for work, home and whatever else that you do trying to accomplish a million different tasks. Well that sounds about right for most of us on this crazy roller coaster of life, but let’s take it from another angle. How many of those times that you wore yourself out for someone else, did that person actually stop to thank you for those efforts?

We have all been taught from an early age to do that very thing. “Say thank you, young man” my mom would say, or my personal favorite and one that I have past on to my kids, “We can be many things in life, but we may never be rude!” All really great important lessons, but for some reason as I grew up and entered the work force, I realized that these lessons didn’t seem to apply to those in leadership positions. For whatever the reason, there was just never enough time to stop and say thank you. Kind of rude, huh? That’s what I thought!

One of the biggest complaints in most companies that employers receive from their staff is the sheer lack of recognition and appreciation they receive. People love to be noticed for their efforts. That’s simple and it makes sense too doesn’t it? If you are working hard and just killing it for your company, or even just taking on more responsibility, you want someone to look at those efforts and say, “Gosh they’re great and so are you!” or something less corny like it. If you’re a freelancer, you may or may not care as much, but it still feels good when your clients are grateful for your efforts and show it, right?  So why is this such a problem?

In a couple of recent Gallup polls, 43.5% of Americans say that they are dissatisfied with their direct line supervisor. The main reason? Lack of respect and appreciation.

The part that truly boggles me is the disdain that a lot of leaders have for this topic when it is brought up. This seems to have always been the case, but the current financial slow down has only escalated the effects. More so, over the past decade the United States has shown that is not as workplace family-oriented as many other wealthy countries. According to a study released by Harvard and McGill University researchers in February 2007, workplace policies for families in the U.S. are weaker than those of all high-income countries and even many middle-and low-income countries. The whole “Just be happy you have a job!” philosophy has become the standard in the minds of a lot of leaders. 

So what can you do? Well first off, if you are a leader of people reading this, regardless of the size of your team, ask yourself a simple question; Do I thank my employees? If the answer is yes, then I say great job. Keep it up! If the answer is no, then all I ask is this; Why? What is the reason that prevents you from doing it?

As I was coming up in my career, I have had the pleasure of experiencing all different types of leadership and management styles to work for. Some of the nicest people were the worst when it came to their professional duties and vice versa. For example, I had one boss who I became very good friends with as I moved up. He was one of the sweetest and kindest individuals that I had ever met. Yet he would never thank his employees for anything. I brought this up to him after I no longer reported to him and he told me point blank, “I pay them, that’s thanks enough.” Ouch.

Another example would be back in my retail days. I had literally one the worst leaders on the planet. The man had no right to be in the position he was in. He was unorganized, rude and had absolutely no business sense or vision. Yet, when he was dealing with his teams, he would thank them religiously and often. If he saw you killing yourself, he would tell you to take a break and buy you a coffee. Even though I couldn’t stand the man as a boss, I found myself staying late to help him with his paperwork so he wouldn’t get in trouble.

Showing your team gratitude isn’t a sign of weakness or makes you “soft”. It’s nothing more than being respectful. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive either. There are plenty of low to no cost sites that allow you to send free thank you cards. Here I’ll even give you one to get started http://www.123greetings.com/thank_you/at_work/. Just give a try and see what the results are. 

Take moment today and thank someone for all that they do for you. Remember, your company is absolutely nothing without people to create, make and buy what you are selling. You wouldn’t think twice of thanking your customers, so stop coming up with reasons to not thank your employees either.

Thanks for reading, now here’s a little something from me to you too. A little note so you know how much I appreciate you! http://www.123greetings.com/thank_you/at_work/atwork12.html

Please check out my website www.theworldbyphil.com

Until Next Time….  

tonette stone
tonette stone's picture
Last seen: 8 years 3 months ago
Joined: Apr 16 2009 - 11:55am
This is an awesome article! In a variety of positions as an employee, we are "required" to thank every customer who comes through the door.....nice or rude (to us or other customers). And in rare ocassions someone recognizes what we do for them and sincerely thanks us for the job we do. Thanks for writing this article, maybe someone will read it and even if for a short time will say "thank you" for a job well done. Tonette
Well Thank you Tonette! I really appreciate that!

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