Leadership – The Importance of saying "Thank You"

One of the most important jobs of a leader is a simple one. 

Say “Thank You” and recognize the hard work of others.

This photo, taken a number of years ago, popped up on in my son’s  Facebook stream the other day.  It had been posted by his friend Nick Roa and it reminded me of an important lesson that applies to leaders of all  ages.

Saying Thank You - photo by Nicholas Roa

At the age of 13, my son Christopher was having a blast playing on his travel hockey team. His coaches instituted a great practice of having the players take turns saying “thank you” to the wait-staff in the restaurants where the team would gather with parents after each game.  One night in Tucson, the boys voted for chicken wings and Hooter’s for dinner after the game.  So that evening, young Chris had to stand on a chair, surrounded by beautiful women and make a speech thanking his team mates for a game well played and the ladies for their hard work.  He did a great job.  (It’s not everyday a leader gets to make a speech standing on a chair in a crowded restaurant surrounded by a bevy of beauties.)

There are a myriad of opportunities to say “Thank You” and even more ways to do so.  Here are just a few:

  • Instead of having the mail room pass out paychecks, have them sent to you and deliver them personally with a handshake, a smile, or a bit of praise on something that that person has done for the team.
  • Pick up the telephone and speak to someone – a novel concept these days.  Thank them for their business, their friendship, their support – make it meaningful and don’t expect or ask for anything in return.
  • Double that Gratuity – the next time you are out to eat and the service is good.  Don’t just write in the TIP on the slip – tell the waiter or waitress WHY you did it.  This economy has caused restaurants to cut back on staff – so waiters and waitresses are doing more and in many cases getting smaller tips.  It may just be a few dollars and a minute out of your day but it can mean A LOT to them.
  • Carry an envelope of Dollar Bills and put them in every little red kettle you see.  Then, THANK the Bell Ringer.  Not only are you supporting the charitable efforts of the Salvation Army in helping people who need it – but you are recognizing the efforts of volunteers who stand for hours – in all types of weather –  ringing that little brass bell. 
  • Thank someone for doing the little things.  It may inspire them to do something big.  You don’t have to ration Thank You’s – you never run out.

As 2009 comes to a close, many of us may feel that we have less to be thankful for than in other years.  But, if you start to think about it and look for opportunities and ways to say thanks, you will find that they are all around you and that when you start looking for them – you’ll feel better about yourself  AND get better results at work, at home, and in your community. Now that is something to be thankful for.

So, “Thank You” Reader – for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

 

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