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  • Writer's pictureToni Glass

Say Thank You

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

Yep, it’s an oldie but a goodie - give your team the appreciation and thanks they deserve and they will blow your mind with the results they deliver. People do more for those who appreciate them, so have a think about how you say thank you and fill their bucket.

William James, the father of psychology, stated that the most fundamental psychological need is to be appreciated. We all want to feel fully appreciated for our work. The payoff for inspiring leaders is that people do more for those who appreciate them.

Most leaders understand the importance of this yet it still tends to be a blind spot. Often, they believe they are much more appreciative of their teams than their teams think they are OR they will get too big for their britches OR they don’t see anything as special because the team (member) “is just doing their job.”

With all of today's technology options, it's easy to find yourself too busy for face-to-face interaction, but that's one of the best ways to charge up your team. Showing appreciation is not a matter of time and intention; rather, it's a matter of priority and action.

Consider tracking your ratio for a week to gauge how well you are appreciating your team. Look for opportunities to acknowledge your team's results and positive progress. This is basic psychology - reinforce those behaviours that you want to see more frequently. Catch them doing something right, and do it often. If you look for ways team members are doing something right, opportunities to reinforce the team will be plentiful.

A good way to start, if it doesn’t come naturally, is to diarise appreciation as a task – that means you haven’t finished your to-do list if you haven’t given, say, 2 x “thank yous” per day. BUT remember, you must be sincere and specific. In other words, don't fall into the trap of blurting out the robotic "good job." Take the time to thoughtfully explain why you appreciated the specific action taken by a team member.

For example, you might say, "Bob, I really appreciate the way you quickly resolved that customer issue without adding more time or cost to our delivery schedule. That makes a big difference for the company." Demonstrating appreciation for your team members and their efforts can put them on the fast track to inspired performance.

There should be plenty of opportunities, since a Harris poll found that 65 percent of the workers reported receiving no recognition for good work in the past year! That's a pretty low bar. So don't worry about recognising your team too much.

In fact, there are no documented studies of any team ever feeling over-appreciated.

Here are some simple ways to demonstrate your appreciation for your team:

  • Say "thank you". A simple, yet highly underused form of appreciation.

  • We love old school - write a card or note to a team member expressing why you appreciate him or her.

  • Allow your team (or team member) to present their work to your boss. This is a great way to engage your team and it also shows your boss what kind of leader you are.

  • Put a sincere acknowledgement of a team member in your company newsletter. This takes only a few minutes of your time but creates long-term value for the employee. (I’ve seen most employees so proud they take a copy for their family to see!)

  • Tell an employee's story of accomplishment at a staff meeting. Detailed stories are perceived as more interesting, meaningful, thoughtful and memorable.

  • Take a team member for a coffee (or lunch or drink depending your budget) to show your appreciation. Remember to do more listening than talking.

Find ways that are natural and comfortable for you to demonstrate your appreciation, since your authenticity is the key.

The good news is that you have complete control over your appreciation. No budget limitations or excuses here--there are literally thousands of ways to demonstrate your appreciation at little or no cost.

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