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The Power of Giving Thanks – 15 Ways to Express Gratitude



As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, setting aside the dark history accompanying this holiday, I wanted to take a moment to blog about the power of saying Thank You.

If people only knew the power of those two words, they would take every opportunity to utter them verbally and back them up with actions of gratitude.

Allow me to share a personal experience. Many many years ago, I was the Project Manager for regional IT migration (back in the good old days, we were migrating to Windows 2000 Operating System!). The project involved 11 servers and 300+ desktops across multiple countries. Time was of the essence, we had to perfectly coordinate training for employees in an offsite location while we upgraded their systems, so when they returned, they could start working on the new OS immediately with little downtime. My team and I were traveling from country to country upgrading and testing our systems, it was a combination of fun, stress, anxiety and satisfaction when a task was completed.

I recall my manager back then (the best I have had), called to check-in. I automatically shifted gears to reporting on our progress, explaining deadlines and any technical challenges. I was so passionate and consumed about the project that I was talking too fast without pausing for a breath. He tried to step into the conversation several times before I noticed it, he then asked me to take a long breath and said “I just called to say thank you”! I almost cried.

He followed his “thanks giving” with an invitation for me to go out with my family for dinner in a restaurant of my choice to celebrate and just expense it. The Gratitude Action! With those two words, not only did I want to do more, but I was enjoying the extra workload I added for myself!

Barbra Glanz (speaker, presenter and author of 12 books on improving moral and retention) summarized it best when she said: “Compensation is a right, but appreciation is a free gift”.

As we wind down this year, and get ready to welcome the next, I offer you 15 simple ways to exercise the power of giving thanks in your work environment, and just watch as performance picks up reaching new horizons!

1. Simple greetings and acknowledgments: a friendly smile, a simple nod, saying good morning/afternoon while locking-in eye contact

2. Say “thank you” even if they are only doing what’s expected of them

3. Praise them when they go over and beyond their line of duty or deliver a project before a set deadline

4. Recognize their strengths and give them opportunities to help others, people love that! It gives them a sense of purpose

5. Give them relevant and meaningful rewards (not everyone wants a gym membership)

6. Set sessions to give them positive feedback (no buts, no negatives, no feedback-sandwiching)

7. Implement “employee of the month rewards” if such rewards make sense in your organization

8. Impalement team rewards and project achievement rewards

9. Provide training and development opportunities as a non-monetary reward

10. Provide national and international secondments whenever applicable and if aligned to employee development plans

11. Provide opportunities to interact with the executive team

12. Provide opportunities for them to present their ideas to the executive team

13. Provide opportunities for them to participate in key projects

14. Invite them to special events with key stakeholders and/or executive team

15. Be an active advocate for your high performers

I would like to thank you my dear readers for taking time to read my blog. May you have a wonderful holiday weekend however you choose to spend it.


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