Good Habits #30: Give a Simple Thank-You

By | March 16, 2017

[March 16, 2017]  I remember it like it occurred yesterday.  My maternal grandmother was a kind yet tough individualist who spoke her mind plainly and often.  One day after I was baptized as a young boy in church she said, “Douglas, you’re a good kid, thank you.”  It should be no surprise that the best leaders are those who make a habit out of recognizing others for what they do.

Was I flabbergasted?  You bet I was.  Did I ever forget it?  Nope.  People – all of us regardless of position, age, or experience – appreciate and remember a suitable pat on the back now and then.  A retired 4-star general once told me that what he liked most about his long career were the soldiers that thanked him along the way.  His medals were just pieces of ribbon.

“Take time to be kind and to say ‘thank you.’” – Zig Ziglar, American author, salesman, and motivational speaker

A pat on the back is not merely a figure of speech; it’s about a powerful connection with others.  A leader should, therefore, make a regular habit out of it; best to make it a daily activity.  Too often while we go about our busy workday we may forget that those around us can always use a simple acknowledgement with a verbal thank-you, a thumbs-up gesture, a simple smile, or a “job well done” comment.

A thank you should be given freely and without strings attached, reservation, or regret.  Leaders should also exercise great care that it is appropriate for the action that elicits acknowledgment.  On the one hand, if a colleague, worker, boss, friend, or family member does something well and has exceeded expectations, then a thank-you is the right thing.

On the other hand, random thank-you’s, those not connected to anything of importance, will hurt one’s credibility and believability.  It is disingenuous to thank someone for no reason and it cheapens others who have been thanked.  Some call this an inflation of the thank-you and it is, of course, not a good thing.

Real leaders, those who are genuine, are those who use the thank-you daily.  They clearly understand the lesson from long ago, a remark by Alexander the Great who said that it is the work and effort of others that creates excellence, not our own powers.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.