"What do you say to her/ him?" is something many of us will remember hearing regularly as a child whenever anyone gave us anything. Perhaps you are currently saying
this phrase repeatedly to the tiny (or not so tiny!) people in your life.
Whether we're on the giving or receiving end of those reminders to say "Thank you", that training in gratitude can seem relentless so it's worth remembering that those lessons can equip us enormously in adult life when it comes to building and maintaining better working relationships.
When it comes to transforming the quality of your working relationships and your results, developing a consistent practice of gratitude is a game-changer. In a fast-moving world where so much can seem increasingly transactional, saying "Thank you!" at all - let alone in the right
ways at the right time - might seem basic, and yet it will often make all the difference to your professional outcomes.
A customer has shown their support for you?* A client has recommended you? A colleague or team member has gone the extra mile? A supplier has delivered brilliantly? Whatever they did cost them time and effort and energy which they could have directed elsewhere. Thank them! Thank them intentionally, properly and
appropriately. Give them a call, acknowledge them on your socials, drop them an email, send them a note (this one is so rare people will not forget it in a hurry!).
A few examples from the last couple of weeks:
1. The week before last, I delivered a presentation after a journey which took three times as long as it should have done. I arrived exhausted and depleted, I left energised and couldn't wait to be invited back. What made the difference? The nature of the thanks that I received on arrival and afterwards.
2. I received an item off eBay this week which included a handwritten note from the seller (thanks, Sandra!) thanking me for buying from her - not only did that boost my online review and recommendation but I wouldn't think twice about buying from her again.
3. A client recently texted to thank me for the work I had done coaching him for an important presentation, explaining where my input had been especially invaluable. Another client recently thanked me publically in front of several members of the Board, highlighting particular ways my work had served their
I learned a lot from these guys about the value of warm and specific "thank you"s. When you thank that colleague, customer or client, be sincere and specific and try to include one reason why what they did made a difference.
People value understanding the impact of what they've done. On top of that, taking the time to think before you thank helps you increase in thankfulness. This article has lots to say about the benefits of gratitude, not just for its recipients but for its givers. Gratitude is an attitude and one which we can all cultivate.
“Thank you" isn't just what we say when we receive a gift, "Thank you" is itself a gift - an acknowledgement, a form of positive feedback, a way of reinforcing the other person's work and best instincts.
A reader of this newsletter recently said to me, "Work is relational, it's not just about the paycheque - or rather the paycheque depends on the quality of your relationships." Wise words! A practice of intentional, regular and thoughtful thank yous isn’t just right and kind,
it builds relational capital like little else. Rather than assuming that the people with whom we work already know we're grateful (or that the money or other benefit they’ve received is enough thanks), we’d be wise to realise that articulating our thanks is part of our job.
Who can you or your business/ organisation thank for something they've done or been doing recently? How can you can build a better practice of gratitude into your work, both individually and collectively? Gaining clarity in this area - and acting on it - will drive progress at work in ways which will