Usually, when someone provides a service, favor, or courtesy, many return the courtesy with a “thanks.” Unfortunately, there are instances when thanks is not only insufficient, but can have the exact opposite intended effect. Instead of the recipient feeling appreciated, he or she may feel unappreciated, angry, and very unwilling to do anything to help us again.
“Thanks for passing the ketchup,” works.
“Hey Bob, thanks for the kidney,” seems to fall short.
I was facilitating a workshop and had just discussed the importance of showing appreciation, when we took a 10 minute break. During the break, a senior manager approached me and said,
“I don’t see why I should thank my employees for doing what’s in their job descriptions; they’re getting paid to do the job afterall.”
I won’t get into our discussion regarding money and motivation- I’ll save that for a future post. However, regarding appreciation, my response included the following comments:
• Everyone needs encouragement and to know that their effort is appreciated
• It doesn’t matter if it’s in their job description, good work is worthy of appreciation
• A little appreciation pays off- good work that gets noticed will likely get repeated
• It takes 30 seconds or less to make someone’s day with a meaningful “thank you”
• Appreciation given is usually reciprocated—and as we know …(repeat first bullet)
However, as the above excerpt from “Practical Communication” notes, there’s “thanks” and there’s a meaningful “thank you” and we don’t want to confuse one with the other.
“Thanks” is adequate appreciation for ketchup passed and other tasks requiring minimal effort.
However, if this is how you show all appreciation, others will feel unappreciated and possibly even angry.
Imagine how you’d feel if you worked through your lunch hour for a week to help a friend, only to have him or her just say “thanks” when you’re done? Or even better, my favorite- the “backhanded” thanks,
“Thanks. It’s about time you got this to me.”
A meaningful “thank you” is necessary for hard work, quality work, and of course, donated body parts. To show others appreciation that will make their day, follow these “5 Keys to a Meaningful Thank You.”
1. Be timely- say “thank you” right away.
2. Be specific- tell the person exactly what he or she did that you appreciate.
3. Share the impact- tell the person specifically what positive effect(s) his or her actions had on you, your family, your customers, etc.
4. Say “thank you” not “thanks,” and say it sincerely.
5. Say “thank you” in person whenever possible.
And a final tip- Be sure to provide a “thank you” in writing for those who might need it to provide their supervisors with positive material for their performance appraisals.
Remember, 30 seconds is all it takes to make someone’s day with a little appreciation. Be sure to take every opportunity every day to say “thank you” to those around you.
Have you missed opportunities already today? It’s not to late …