If you remember the nursery rhyme ‘For want of a nail’, this is my version.
For want of a thank you, a smile was lost.
For want of a smile, engagement was lost.
For want of engagement, productivity was lost.
For want of production, a customer was lost.
For want of a customer, profit was lost.
For want of that profit, a business was lost.
And all for the want of a genuine thank you.
In many recent workshops, the common theme from delegates is about recognition and the lack of praise. A frequent phrase is ‘we soon hear when we get it wrong, but we rarely hear when we get it right’. Yet, it is a well known fact that appreciation is a great motivator and it costs nothing. Why is it so hard to give it?
My friend, Valery Coburn, Inspiration Plus, has just written an excellent blog on: Is Gratitude the Antidote to Solitude, Depression and Sadness? www.inspirationplus.net. With so much evidence of the impact of mental ill-health in the workplace on productivity, this is a topic that requires more attention. It is certainly an area we will be focusing on during our Mind Your Head series of workshops.
How can you show more gratitude?
- Actively listen to people. It is not enough to be listening, but you need to show that you are listening. This is the greatest gift you can give someone and shows respect. By listening, you will come to understand how they like to be thanked.
- Turn the switch to positive. When you look at the world, do you see the positive or the negative? An example is when you finish the day, do you focus on the things you haven’t done or what you have achieved? When you go walk about, do you go to catch them doing something good? Learning to look for the good in people can have a major effect on your own and their morale. I found that a great exercise is to write down ten things you are grateful for at the end of each day for a fortnight, and you can’t have the same thing twice. You quickly learn that there is so much more to be thankful for.
- Be genuine. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. People soon know if you are being authentic or not.
- Expand your thank you. Most of us have been taught to say thank you since childhood, so it can be an automatic response. It has little meaning if we are just saying it or always say the same thing. It will have more impact if you can be expressive and you explain clearly what it is you are grateful for. E.g. ‘Thank you so much for staying that extra hour to finish the task. It means we can all go home tonight without worrying about meeting the deadline”
- Change the ratio. It has been recommended that the ratio of praise to criticism should be 10:1. What’s yours?