Two More Difficult Words in the English Language: Thank You!
I recently posted a blog entitled “The Two Most Difficult Words in the English Language: I’m Sorry.” In these times in which we live – a sad loss of civility in the public square – two more difficult words in the English language are “thank-you.” As with “I’m sorry,” “thank you,” when sincerely given is both powerful and motivating.
The Power & Motivational Impact of “Thank You:” The Results
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of coaching many in leadership roles. Preliminary to the process is an assessment of how the individual is viewed by him/herself; the boss or bosses; his/her colleagues or peers; and, his/her subordinates – the so-called circle, or 360 performance review. At times, other stakeholders are included, such as customers, external vendors, etc. The collective perceptions of all of those involved assist in identifying the issues to be tackled in the coaching process.*
The easy-to-complete 360 I use (28 questions) includes: “(name of the person being assessed) provides feedback.” For those who provide a low rating, I dig deeper and ask for a specific example or examples. The most frequent response from subordinates is: “I always hear when I screw up. I never hear when I do well.”
As a practically-minded coach, offering easy-to-implement suggestions, I offer this: “Be authentic, not phony, since we can all smell a rat a mile away; however, in the course of a week, surely there is someone who does something nice for you to which you can say “thank-you,” and someone who produces a good product, for which you can give out an ‘attaboy’ or ‘attagirl.’ So, try it and let’s discuss during our next meeting.”
This has worked every time because it serves to motivate team members; after all, who doesn’t like to be thanked, or to receive notice for a job well done? Also, and, perhaps more importantly, it helps to change the frame of reference in the leader from looking for those who screw up, to looking for those who do well.
Extending the Practice from the Workplace to the Public Square
In these turbulent times, where many find it easier to blame, shame and maim others – particularly on social media – wouldn’t it be a step towards a returned civility if we all agreed each week to seek out situations in which we could say: Thank you; I’m sorry; and, give out a pat on the back for something well done?
Please join me in making a commitment to do all three each week. Then, share what happened at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I commit to sharing the good results on my social media account!