How Saying Thank You Can Be Meaningful or Empty

Saying thank you to someone should be a wonderful expression and witness of our sincere appreciation and gratitude for a person and/or something they have done for us or others.

But what if the speaker of thanks is being manipulative with those two words that many of us long to hear? How do you know if they spoke the words with authenticity? Are they meaningful?

Let’s first examine what the words “thank you” mean. 

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Make Sure You Thank Someone This Month

It’s January and welcome to National Thank You month.

While etiquette professionals and books promote the idea of sending out Thank You Notes, don’t neglect the behavior of saying thank you too.

They have designated January as National Thank You Month. This might have originated from the greeting card industry because of receiving gifts following the Christmas holidays and they want you to buy their printed cards. I know my wife and I dutifully sat down on the last Sunday in December and wrote our Thank You notes to our children. It is a lovely reflective time to treasure and remember what we have received.

Learn to make saying or expressing thanks to those around you more a way of life beyond this designated month.

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Top 10 Ways to Create Thanksgiving at Work

As far as work and Thanksgiving is concerned, everyone will be more excited to leave work to be with family and friends than be thankful for work. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be more grateful for the jobs and careers we have. Our challenge is knowing what we each can do to create a more Thanksgiving attitude at work. Check out these Top 10 ideas to shed some light on this idea.

1. Create meaningful work opportunities. In a recent American Management Association (AMA) survey they asked what people are thankful for at work and the highest ranked item is “the professional satisfaction it provides me.” Check in regularly with employees to learn what could make their work more energizing.

2. Encourage positive work relationships. Next on the AMA list was, understandably, one’s coworkers. Often we stop people from communicating and forming friendships at work. Even the Gallup Q12 measures having a best friend at work. Orchestrate opportunities to have fun, break bread, exercise, play and celebrate together.

3. Make sure each “Boss” is a good one. Never take this for granted because a great boss appreciates and values employees. A bad boss can kill them. Working for an uncivil, toxic boss increases the risk of a heart attack by 17% and increases the likelihood of a stroke by 33%. Stop bad boss behavior immediately.

4. Gratitude is even good for you. Well-deserved thanks and expressions of appreciation make an impact on people’s health. The Institute of Heart Math found Individuals who received appreciation and gratitude had greater harmony in their heart rhythms. Don’t think they are just doing their jobs – THANK THEM!

5. Cut out saying negative things to people – period. In high performing teams researchers found the ratio of positive to negative statements directed from manager to team members was 5.6 to 1.These managers gave 5 times more positive statements than negative. Watch your mouth and be more positive!

6. Develop relationships versus “engaging” employees. When we get romantically involved with someone we build a relationship first before popping the engagement question. Same thing at work – focus on the relationships between people. Look at building a person up and connecting with them.

7. Use emails and social media to be social. We are becoming a cryptic, impersonal society in how we communicate in any form of written text. Use the polite social graces of writing “please” and “Thank you so much! I am really grateful.” Not only will you make people feel good they will more likely help you.

8. When you have a good boss, thank them. Here’s an interesting thought from the John Templeton Foundation Study on Gratitude. They found 74% of people never or rarely express gratitude to their boss.  Yet they want their boss to express gratitude to them. Start emulating the actions you want given to you.

9. Never give a gift or an award alone. No matter what tangible form of appreciation you might give someone, always add a card or note to share your feelings and thoughts for the person. Specifically acknowledge the employee for what they have done and share your heartfelt appreciation for their contributions.

10. Start things right with giving thanks. Begin each day with sending out an email of gratitude to someone who has made a difference to you. Put praise and acknowledgments at the beginning of each meeting agenda and have people share the great things happening. If you start right, you will end right.

Don’t Offend People When They Just Recognized You

Watch out for how you react to people when they are thoughtful enough to express praise and recognition to you.

Their words or action are an acknowledgment of your positive actions, effort, or contribution you’ve made.

But too often recognition recipients unintentionally offend givers of recognition.

Watch what you say or do so that you don’t discourage people from giving you recognition again. (more…)

Learn to “Say” It Forward

The only good thing about having to visit a doctor’s office is the strong possibility of picking up a magazine to read that you don’t subscribe to or seldom have chance to read.

I came across an old Reader’s Digest magazine on one of these visits.

Inside I read an interesting article written by Lisa Bendall all about “The Science of Being Nice”.

The article looks at the benefits of “doing good” for other people. It’s taken from a social scientist perspective and the innate sense of altruism or self-interest.

Is there any real benefit to being nice? I’ll examine this from some of the scientific findings available. (more…)

Why Recognize Them When They’re Just Doing Their Job?

One of the standard complaints against recognition that some people make, is if people are doing their jobs, why do you need to recognize them?

A good friend of mine likens this to someone saying, “I love you!” to their partner when they propose to them and then never saying it again. When the partner desperately asks after a year together, “How come you never say how much you love me anymore?” the response is simply, “I told you when I first proposed. Why do I have to say it again?”

It get’s worse when the diehard cynics in the room confront the need for employee recognition by saying things like, “We pay them well enough, what more do they want?”

Yet, for many people, though not everyone, there is an inherent need to feel that they’re making a difference. They want to know that their contributions are valued and appreciated by others.

I am going to tackle this question the best way I can by painting a picture and letting you decide.

Remember the question: Should you be recognizing people when they are “just doing their job?” (more…)

Top 10 Ways to Create Thanksgiving at Work

 

As far as work and Thanksgiving is concerned, everyone will be more excited to leave work to be with family and friends than be thankful for work. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be more grateful for the jobs and careers we have. Our challenge is knowing what each of us can do to create a more Thanksgiving attitude at work. This set of Top 10 should shed some light on this idea.

1. Create meaningful work opportunities. In an American Management Association (AMA)  survey they asked what people are thankful for at work and the highest ranked item is “the professional satisfaction it provides me.” Check in regularly with employees to learn what could make their work more energizing.

2. Encourage positive work relationships. Next on the AMA list was, understandably, one’s coworkers. Often we stop people from communicating and forming friendships at work. Even the Gallup Q12 measures having a best friend at work. Orchestrate opportunities to have fun, break bread, exercise, play and celebrate together.

3. Make sure each “Boss” is a good one. Never take this for granted because a great boss appreciates and values employees. A bad boss can kill them. Working for an uncivil, toxic boss increases the risk of a heart attack by 17% and increases the likelihood of a stroke by 33%. Stop bad boss behavior immediately.

4. Gratitude is even good for you. Well-deserved thanks and expressions of appreciation make an impact on people’s health. The Institute of Heart Math found Individuals who received appreciation and gratitude had greater harmony in their heart rhythms. Don’t think they are just doing their jobs – THANK THEM!

5. Cut out saying negative things to people – period. In high performing teams researchers found the ratio of positive to negative statements directed from manager to team members was 5.6 to 1.These managers gave 5 times more positive statements than negative. Watch your mouth and be more positive!

6. Develop relationships versus “engaging” employees. When we get romantically involved with someone we build a relationship first before popping the engagement question. Same thing at work – focus on the relationships between people. Look at building a person up and connecting with them.

7. Use emails and social media to be social. We are becoming a cryptic, impersonal society in how we communicate in any form of written text. Use the polite social graces of writing “please” and “Thank you so much! I am really grateful.” Not only will you make people feel good they will more likely help you.

8. When you have a good boss, thank them. Here’s an interesting thought from the John Templeton Foundation Study on Gratitude. They found 74% of people never or rarely express gratitude to their boss. Yet they want their boss to express gratitude to them. Start emulating the actions you want given to you.

9. Never give a gift or an award alone. No matter what tangible form of appreciation you might give someone, always add a card or note to share your feelings and thoughts for the person. Specifically acknowledge the employee for what they have done and share your heartfelt appreciation for their contributions.

10. Start things right with giving thanks. Begin each day with sending out an email of gratitude to someone who has made a difference to you. Put praise and acknowledgments at the beginning of each meeting agenda and have people share the great things happening. If you start right, you will end right.

Question: In what ways do you bring Thanksgiving into the workplace?

Squeeze In Some Recognition Time, Right Now!

I keep hearing people have no time for recognition.

Time is the number one reason given by managers around the world for not recognizing the people they work with.

Yet, when I use a timer to time people on how long it takes to praise or acknowledge someone, it takes very little time to give recognition.

So…lets squeeze in some recognition time, right now!

Are you ready? (more…)