Leadership Gratitude: Say “Thank You” Like You Mean It

If you’ve spent much time around young children, you’ve probably seen some version of this interaction play out when you hand a snack to a toddler:

Leadership Gratitude: Say “Thank You” Like You Mean It

Parent:What do you say?

Child (mouth full, all attention on remaining food): “Mmankoo

You may or may not find this charming behavior in a three-year-old, but for adults—and especially for adults in leadership—gratitude is something worth taking very seriously. Few things motivate people better than feeling appreciated, and few things are more demoralizing than feeling unappreciated.

It’s not just helpful to others, either. Studies show that the experience of feeling and expressing gratitude can bring us more positive emotions, improve our relationships, and even have a beneficial influence our health. http://bit.ly/1Ps7gBj

If you want to improve your gratitude aptitude—at work or in any area of life—here are some tips:

Be aware.

Gratitude begins with awareness. It’s good to notice extra effort, but we need to also be grateful for our team members and the things they do every day: the one who’s thoroughly dependable, the one who’s always willing to travel, the one who stays focused no matter what, the one whose enthusiasm is contagious.

Make time.

Keep gratitude at the front of your mind by making it part of your routine. Even if it’s a simple email or stopping by the office to say “well done,” make sure you thank someone around you every day.

Be sincere and specific.

Sure, you can cover your bases by saying, “Thanks everybody for meeting the crazy deadline last week” in a staff meeting. But individual recognition is much more meaningful and powerful: “Sam, you kept the numbers accurate and up to date under terrific pressure last month. Tina, your willingness to take on client relations in addition to your usual work while James was in the hospital made his transition back much easier.”

Make it public.

Clients, executives, board members—the more people who hear you sing your team’s praises, the more effective your gratitude becomes, for the individual and the organization.

Back it up.

Any form of gratitude is important, and one of the great things about it is that it costs nothing. But whenever possible, reinforce your thanks with something substantive, whether it’s a bonus, an afternoon off, a gift card, or picking up the tab for a celebratory office lunch.

Get serious about gratitude and see what changes start to happen in your team—and in your leadership.

{Image Credit: David Castillo Dominici via freedigitalphotos.net}

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