Have you ever been in the situation where you have held open a door for someone and they sailed through without saying a word? Or how about letting someone in front of you in a line of traffic and they make no sign of acknowledgement. Or, as happened to me recently, you spend an entire day preparing a feast for a dinner party to have someone turn up empty handed, they eat your food, drink your wine and never say thank you, not even a text!

Annoying isn’t it? It can make your blood boil, and have you noticed the unpleasant sensation it leaves you with afterwards? The only thing greater than the power of thank you is the sour taste a lack of thanks can leave.

The power of thank you is seriously underestimated

Some employers make the mistake of thinking that things such as money, extra holiday entitlement, or promotions are the only ways to keep staff happy. Of course these are great to receive but it all costs money and eats into profitability if they are the only tools used.

There are plenty of things leaders can do that cost absolutely zero £.  The first of these is the all too obvious but much underused words of ‘thank you’.

Human beings respond much more positively to praise.  If you actively look for what is good in a person or what they are doing which is spot on if not surpassing your anticipations, then actively bring attention to this by acknowledgement and a thank you, that person will respond in a favourable way. The power of thank you is the warm glow it gives a person.

You don’t need awards or anything over the top by way of a thank you.  Just stop and consider how good you felt when someone took the time to notice something you had done or achieved and then went out of their way to come up to you and say something great about it.  How did that make you feel for the rest of the day? It’s that feeling you should be instilling in those you are responsible for.

The power of thank you costs zero £ but a few moments of time

Even when you’re busy there is always time to glance up and outwards to review how your team members are doing and, if you are a good leader, how their morale is.  Some may need more encouragement than others, some may not trust their own regard for themselves and some may need support and help.  But how are you going to know this unless you take the time? Acknowledgment and thanks are extremely powerful, especially when times are stressful or tough.

It is very easy and often the norm to watch employee’s performance and pull them up on what it is that they are not doing or are doing imperfectly.  While this may be regarded as positive feedback because it will help them improve, it quite often isn’t and doesn’t.  Criticism and having what are perceived as negative points raised can be viewed as an attack on their personal identity and I’ve never known a person respond well to it.

Of course, sometimes it is necessary to address performance issues for the overall good of the team and company, however first look for the good and start with that.  Think carefully about the more negative issue you need to raise and how you can do so without attacking their personality and always finish with a positive phrase or aspect directed back at them as a person.

You’re human, they’re human – treat them as you would yourself – with positive regard and humanity. Use the power of thank you constructively and enjoy the smiles you get in return.

(Oh, and thank you for taking the time to read this article)


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