Thank You: How Two Words Go a Long Way

Posted by TMG on January 24, 2019 3:13:00 PM

Deadlines, projects, meetings, emails and of course daily life in general-all of that can sometimes get in the way of just saying two words to a team member or an individual we supervise; “thank you.” Those two very simple yet often underutilized words are two of the most important words a supervisor can say.

“A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected.” While the author of the quote is unknown, the statement is far from a good team leader. When a person feels that they are needed and that their contributions, whether big or small, are appreciated and valued, they will always do more than expected, sometimes unknowingly.

I’ve seen people who have come from other teams or companies and the shocked look on their faces when I just say, “You’re doing a great job.” A study via a Gallup poll showed that unhappy employees cost the US more- $550 million per year more to be exact. Imagine if some of those employees had just been given a simple verbal high-five.

When a person is unhappy, it results in faulty work, poor customer service and reduced productivity. What does that mean to the supervisor? If the work isn’t getting done or is not being done correctly, it reflects poorly on the leadership and even the company as a whole.

TMG recently started using 15five, a program that allows each employee to take just 15 minutes to complete a few questions-including “How are you feeling?” – and fill in their priorities for the next two-week period. When that period is up, they can update what has been done or the status of ongoing projects and it’s then submitted to their supervisor, allowing for an open conversation. Our entire staff also can not only recognize their fellow team members publicly but also to be recognized themselves.

Two of the most basic human desires are validation and appreciation and by incorporating 15five, we’re accomplishing both.

During my time as a supervisor, I’ve learned a lot including that sometimes projects may not turn out as well as they were anticipated to, but it doesn’t always mean that the person wasn’t trying. A key piece of advice that I offer is to look for what they did well and then build from that because no one is perfect.

Radical Candor is another tool I’ve adopted and highly recommend to fellow supervisors. The purpose of Radical Candor is to create a new normal where guidance is both kind and clear, not to reinforce bad behavior. One part of it is first making sure supervisors Care Personally about their team members so that they in turn can deliver feedback directly, because they care and want their team to succeed. There is a lot more that goes with this thought process, but it ties with showing appreciation because if you care about your team, you will always make sure that they know they’re appreciated.

Don’t ever say “thank you” if you don’t mean it. There is nothing worse than disingenuous gratitude. A simple, meaningful, “great job” or “you’re an asset to the team can make the difference between an A-player and a player who’s just playing the game until they find a new one to join.

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