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The Power of a Well-Placed “Thank You”

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November 2012
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I don’t hear the phrase “Thank You” used in the workplace nearly enough.  Image

It’s two simple words wrapped in one heartfelt comment of appreciation that offers up a whole heaping helping of genuine respect. All of this from one of the first phrases that Mom ever taught us.

While those in roles of authority have a reasonable expectation that their requests will be carried out, there’s nothing I can find in the rulebook for leaders (perhaps we should we create this book!), that suggests liberal use of the phrase “thank you” is a problem.

The most creative and successful leaders I know dispense “Thank You’s” liberally and with gusto. They thank people for their hard work, their creativity and for their service and support. They thank them for pointing out problems and offering solutions and they thank them for providing feedback on how the leader can do his or her job better.

Sometimes the most powerful version of “thank you” is not the verbal kind. It’s the hand-written note acknowledging something good about the employee’s performance. Or perhaps it’s the note from one supervisor to yours offering praise for your involvement with the cross-functional topic.

In some cases, it’s a token of appreciation. From the gift card for a weekend get-away to the theater tickets or something that says “thanks” not only to the individual, but the individual’s significant other, a thoughtful and appropriate gesture (within company guidelines) is nice frosting on a heart-felt thank you.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

Motivation is intrinsic, and most of us are inspired by knowing that our efforts are both noticed and appreciated. Saying “thank you” is one of the simplest forms of showing respect and one of the most powerful forms of letting your team members know that you are watching and that you genuinely care. Starting today, try it on for size a few times. It gets easier to say with practice!


A “Thank You” goes a long way. Send a note or just say it verbally!


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