The power of saying thank you!

When was the last time someone thanked you for your work / contribution to something?  How did that make you feel?  

When was the last time you thanked someone for their work or contribution to something?  How did that make you feel?  

Sometimes (and quite often) saying thank you is overlooked or it is said in a very casual manner where the recipient isn’t impressed.  A casual thanks can cause frustration and make the recipient generally feel crap about their contribution – their motivation declines!  Feelings towards the person who should be thanking them starts to be negative, which has a ripple effect to future tasks – ‘why should I bother, the last time I got sweet FA thanks’….

To some, saying “thank you” is very natural and easy.  For others though, it does not come natural and they actually find it quite hard to express any thanks.

The power of a thank you can be very powerful who receives it.  Recently I was working with 2 different clients and just be chance, within a day or two from speaking with them, I got positive feedback for my work.  To me, as an entrepreneur working on 2 different businesses, this lifted my mood and it has given me a memory anchor to go back to when I am doubting myself (which happens a lot to people running their own businesses)

But beware, the art of saying thank you is not necessarily straightforward either.  A great example that comes to mind was with a previous colleague of mine.  We worked in a top 4 accountancy firm. My colleague held a very good position, he was liked by almost everyone, worked hard and got fantastic 360 degree feedback.  At review time, which included a pay discussion, he was told that he was not going to be promoted because of whatever, therefore they could not pay him anymore, even though he got a glowing review and feedback.  A key problem for him was that he was at the top end of his salary band. The company gave him a £50 voucher for Marks and Spencers for his contribution. This gesture went horribly wrong. It enraged my colleague, who literally ripped up the voucher in his bosses face.  He felt completely undervalued and completely disillusioned with the firm. It wasn’t long before he left his job and found a better job with more money etc. The impact to the firm – well they had lost an important, very capable person, who had great knowledge of his field.  The firm had to recruit a replacement, with thousands of pounds recruitment and training costs for the newbee. Now, I would imagine that if some thought had been put into the situation, some of the recruitment costs could have been used to keep this valuable member of staff. I know it is not as straightforward as that, but that is an HR issue to deal with and for the manager to put the case forward when in this situation.

In a study for Psychological Science, expressers of giving thanks significantly underestimated how surprised recipients would be about why expressers were grateful, overestimated how awkward recipients would feel, and underestimated how positive recipients would feel.

To keep your employees motivation, for them to feel relevant in their job,  engaged, productive and increase their overall wellbeing, leaders/managers need to have the ability to say thank you correctly.  

There are many different ways of saying thank you.  It all depends on the scenario and at times, some great thought needs to be had, otherwise if could all go horribly wrong like my example above.  

Did you know that saying thank you for minor pieces of work/contribution can have a big impact.  Simply being thanked for completed work can lead to employees to be twice as likely to volunteer for more.

Working with a coach can help you work things through when you need to motivate and encourage your employees the right way.  Recently 2Saints have been working on this very subject with a client which has had great outcomes. Our client, who heads up a team, has reported back that she has noticed a positive impact by adapting her style and approach to thanking her team.

Do you have a situation where gratitude could be improved and you are finding it a bit tricky in saying thanks in the right way?  Get in touch and let’s have a conversation.

What is the message/topic:  The power of saying thank you

Key takeaways: Saying thank you is not always straightforward

Audience: Managers of teams, Leaders of people, Individuals who have been promoted into a man management job and or leadership role whereby by position they have many people working for them

Length: 730 words, approx 

Tags: #personaldevelopment #coaching #mindset #change #thankyou #gratitude #motivation #leadership #lifecoach #wellbeing #productive


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