Thank Them Cycle


Remember those hopefully long forgotten days when we had bosses who thought that your pay check was “all the thanks you need?”  We’d like to think that they are long forgotten, but unfortunately we hear every day that attitude is still very much present in today’s managers.  Maybe it’s the times, maybe it’s just we hear the exceptions (there are a lot of great managers out there) but maybe not.

We are in the “Thanks” business, it’s what we do, and we believe it because we know it works.  But it seems that for every one of us, there is a boss out there who defends the philosophy of not thanking employees.  As social beings most of us intuitively know that thanks, praise and recognition is good for us.  We can’t recall a time when an employee every told us that they hated it when someone thanked or praised them for their effort.  They may have been embarrassed about how it was done, but a different issue.  The American Psychological Association in a paper entitled Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed simply that a little gratitude does go a long way and motivates increased pro-social behavior.

To not foster a culture of thanks we feel is foolish, it lacks judgment and we think it’s unwise.  It’s surely at least counterproductive for everyone involved.  Paychecks are great; it’s why they come to work, but it’s only half the contract.  It’s just paying what you owe, it’s not showing appreciation.

We’ve heard most of the reasons why managers say they withhold thanks:

  • No one thanks me
  • Thank people and they’ll only expect more
  • If you thank one you have to thank them all
  • I thanked an employee one time and he said ‘put it in my paycheck’, who needs that kind of guff
  • Thank people and they’ll get false confidence
  • I can’t thank people who need to improve

To these managerial types we say get over it.  It isn’t about you.  If your people expect more appreciation give it to them, they will deliver more to others and your workplace will warm up.  You don’t have to thank them all, but once you start you will naturally just thank more and more and it will become a habit.  And forget about the snarky ones, those are often malcontents who are looking around the corner at the next job move.

By simply choosing your words carefully it doesn’t mean you have to rise to the level of praising them, and then formally recognizing them.  But it is does start that cycle, that will result in a more engaged and productive workforce.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

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