Thank. Lead… Then Thank Again

Posted by on Nov 20, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Want to increase engagement and productivity in your organization? Easy! Thank your people more.

Obviously, running around the office saying thanks to everyone left and right won’t alone help solve the issue completely, but doing it the right way can help you start creating a more positive environment in which employees are more engaged, productive and invested in what they do every day, driving better results that could be seen all the way down to the bottom line and all the way up to the smiles on your employees’ faces.

The workplace ranks last among the places where people express gratitude at all levels. It is also known that employees who feel appreciated, have a much better attitude towards their job and place of work than those who don’t.

As a leader, it should be no surprise that if you want to make a positive change in your organization, a simple way to do it would be to start implementing a culture of gratitude and appreciation.

The old common mentality that “a paycheck is the sign of appreciation” is not valid anymore, and if your organization is still one of those riding this old train you have to act sooner than later.

What a better time to start expressing gratitude to those who work for you -and with you- than Thanksgiving. And what a better time to make a resolution to find reasons to thank your employees and colleagues more often rather than once in a blue moon, than the New Year.  Perfect timing right?

I am not really going to spend time giving ideas on how to thank employees; there are hundreds of articles out there that have plenty of them, from those that involve money to those that are completely free, including ideas that are particular to each individual such as handwritten personal notes (my favorite if you ask me), to ideas for rewarding all employees at the same time that are as creative as having a “no-shoe policy” in the office.

My purpose is to encourage you to take some time to think about making a conscious effort to show some gratitude to your employees and colleagues, to thank them for their effort or a job well done and to put a plan of action that will allow you to start becoming a thankful leader that not only manages, but also inspires and let’s his/her people know how much they are valued and why.

So this is what I want you to do.

Grab a pen and a paper (if you are more of a digital person then a spreadsheet) and create a table that has all the names of the people that work for and with you. Then create one column for each of the following:
Last time I showed appreciation
Deserves recognition for
How will I recognize them in a way that is meaningful
When will I do it

Pay attention to each category. You may or may not remember when was the last time you recognized someone, if you don’t, it probably means is long overdue. Another very important thing to keep in mind -and one that really successful thankful leaders do very well- is that you have to make sure you recognize people in a way that is meaningful to them and for something specific they have done; remember, just saying “good job” or “hey by the way thanks for your hard work” is not enough. Be specific and let them know exactly what they did that you are grateful for, and also make sure that when you thank them, you do it in a way that is important to them. So, it is not only what you will say, but how you will show appreciation. And finally, make yourself do it by a specific date so your intention actually becomes reality.

Go ahead and try it. Then try it again in a couple months. Then encourage others around you to do the same. Repeat often. You will be on your way to building a culture of gratitude and appreciation in your organization, and you will realize that it is easier than you thought and the benefits are greater than what you expected.


2014©Karen Klingberg.  Karen Klingberg, Certified Executive Coach, Speaker and Leadership Blogger, owns [ph+] Coaching where she helps individuals improve leadership skills and build high performance organizations.