Is It Time to Stop Saying Thank You

Gratitude, honor, and recognition are so much deeper and more powerful than just saying thanks.

It’s true that a heartfelt thank you can make someone’s day, it’s a small thing that makes a big difference. But don’t sell yourself short.

rooster behind fence

Withholding gratitude:

Leaders withhold gratitude for fear of creating complacency. If you say thank you too much, people will think they’ve arrived.

Fear of complacency invites leaders to withhold gratitude.

Freedom to express gratitude:

Thank team members for behaviors that produce results, not the results themselves.

Use gratitude to affirm strengths, recognize effort, and honor desired behaviors. You miss opportunities by focusing only on results.

  1. You planned that event perfectly.
  2. Your delegation skills are amazing. How do you choose people who get things done?
  3. I noticed how hard you worked to….
  4. Thanks for softening your tone with that frustrated customer.
  5. I noticed how you pressed through personal reluctance to face that difficult issue. That quality will take you far.

Public acknowledgement:

Speak well of others to others.

The next time you and a teammate run into the big boss, brag about your teammate. Let your team members hear you bragging about them to the boss, customers, and other teammates.

Continue saying thanks, but public acknowledgement is better.

Brag fest:

Ask people to brag about others. Don’t ask them to brag about themselves.

Lift your team by going around the table bragging about each other.

  1. What strengths do you see in the person sitting beside you?
  2. What contributions are the people around the table making to this project?
  3. How does the person across from you bolster a positive environment?
  4. How have they developed their strengths?
  5. What attitude do you admire about ______?

Honor behaviors that deliver results.

I love a good thank you, but there’s so much more to gratitude, honor, and recognition. Plus, it’s free.

How can leaders make gratitude, honor, and recognition part of organizational culture?

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