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There’s Power in Thanks

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Tim Rahschulte, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer, The Professional Development Academy

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Cathie Brow is the senior vice president of human resources at Revera. She once provided me a simple, yet powerful, fact: “People like to be asked and they like to be thanked.”

Of course, we do! It makes us feel valued. It’s for this reason that the best leaders ask, listen and thank people around them.  Think of the last time you received a genuine thank-you. We hold the door for someone and in exchange receive a kind gesture of thanks. We pass the salt at a dinner party and receive a gracious nod. We wave someone changing lanes on a busy freeway in ahead of us and see a courteous wave and peace sign in an effort to say thanks. All that’s great, but when was the last time you got a truly heartfelt thank-you for a job well done? Or, perhaps even more important, when was the last time you gave such a thank-you?

“Thank you!” is the simplest form of recognizing someone. William Shakespeare expressed the importance of giving thanks in “Twelfth Night.” You may be familiar with the play, and if so, you’ll likely remember the line: “I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.”

Expressions of gratitude often are given at a low cost but received with great worth. That’s the kind of exchange great leaders are always looking to make. There are few ways to make someone feel more valued, validated and recognized than telling and showing them you’re grateful for them — what they accomplish, how they show up, what they contribute, what they enable and who they are.

When people are valued, validated and recognized, they feel as if they’re an important part of the team, organization or community, and it shows in their work and overall attitude. If you’re looking for a simple way to create a heliotropic effect (as noted in an earlier article in this series), this is it!

So, when was the last time you really felt valued, validated and recognized? What made you feel that way? Chances are it involved either someone asking you for your input or thanking you for your contribution. Sure, there are a variety of things that can make someone feel valued. Right at the top of the list is asking and thanking. People love to be heard and to know that their voices and opinions count. Equally, people enjoy hearing that their efforts matter and that someone else saw the value of their contributions and was pleased as a result.

Make a difference today. Ask for input. Get involvement from others by asking their opinions. Tap into the expertise and differences of others. And then provide a sincere thank-you. Write a short note of gratitude. Leave a voice mail of thanks. Or stop by, look them in the eyes, and offer a sincere thanks. Watch how people respond. They’ll be glad that you asked and thanked, and so will you!

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