Newsletter: Thanksgiving All Year


Its early December and the leftovers from our family’s Thanksgiving feast are packed away in neatly labeled containers in the freezer and I reflect on the great time we had with family and friends. I am feeling my attention turning back to work and my focus turning to what the weeks ahead hold for our clients and our company… end of quarter, end of year, final reporting, deadlines, proposals, for starters.

Yet, I had a nagging feeling that Sunday afternoon. Isn’t there something more, maybe something that I am missing as my Thanksgiving weekend ends? Thankfulness, recognition, gratitude should be shown not just to those family and friends around us, but to those we work with, our customers, and our vendors….an acknowledgment of not just what is on our to do lists, but a how best to thank everyone. So here are some thoughts about thankfulness.

Dr. Christine Porath, author of “Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace”, shares, “I’ve learned that the way you treat people means everything—whether they will build relationships with you, trust you, follow you, support you, and work hard for you. You can lift people up by demonstrating respect and making people feel valued, appreciated, and heard. But when you exhibit uncivil behaviors, from ignoring to belittling to intentionally undermining others, the harm is enormous.”

Credit, Credit, Who Gets the Credit?

Giving credit to others when it is due rather than taking out your share first is a huge boost to your leadership effectiveness. Credit properly given to those who contributed can motivate and energize your team. It can bring the quiet-behind-the-scenes workhorses on your team into the limelight in a comfortable way, show others that they are noticed and appreciated and, best of all, it can be spread around to many who have contributed and performed well.

Serving Up Some Gratitude

I think about how I tell my friends and family that I appreciate them. Usually this message is best delivered face-to-face with eye contact, it is specific, enthusiastic, and authentic. I can use my one on one time with people I work with to give personal, specific feedback including the details of exactly what it is that I appreciate about the work done on the project. Yes, a “terrific job” was done, and there is nothing wrong with saying those words, but then again, there is nothing terribly right about it either. So instead, state what it is specifically that is worthy of praise and appreciation. What action is it that I would like to see more of, replicated or expanded upon? These are the things to include in a conversation that conveys gratitude.

Be Lavish With Praise

I’ve read a lot recently about how much the millennial generation desires to be praised for their efforts, but, frankly, the millennials are not alone in that desire because we all desire recognition for our efforts. Again, where possible, make your statement of appreciation face-to-face when practical and possible, and be heartfelt. In addition following up with a short hand written note will leave a lasting impression. The advantage of writing a note is most people will read it many times over several months. Be confident that as leaders it is not likely that we will over-praise, so don’t be stingy. Who is it that makes a difference in your day at work?

Consistency Counts

Consistency of gratitude and feedback weigh heavily in building relationships. So along with the quality and quantity of feedback, we consider the frequency of feedback, too. Peter Drucker once said, “Recognition is so easy to do and so inexpensive to distribute, that there is simply no excuse for not doing it.” Some of our clients are systematic about delivering gratitude and feedback to those at work around them…and they make sure that they schedule it on their calendars and to-do lists so that it won’t be overlooked or forgotten. If this is a new habit for you to put into practice, start with conversations that you anticipate being relatively easy, then tackle more challenging conversations.

Payoff, Payoff, Payoff

Building trusting relationships is a key component of your leadership journey. Your boss, employees, peers, competitors, and vendors need to trust you before relationships can be built and cultivated. You and your team are hampered without those strong relationships, so being aware of what they can mean to your team’s effectiveness and also investing wisely in them is strategic for success. Just where can your team go if cultivated and developed to its potential? We challenge you to find out by changing the culture of your leadership in these ways.

Need more ideas? We’ll be glad to work with you and help you find the most effective ways to motivate your employees and build your team by building your leadership toolbox.

All of us at T Squared Leadership, LLC would like to thank you for being a part of our success, for your trust, for seeking us out to consult with you on business and leadership topics, for using us as a resource, for sharing your lives and problems with us, for keeping us challenged and interested in leadership growth because it is important to all of us. We appreciate you letting us come alongside you for the past 14 years as a trusted confidant, thought partner, and problem solver. We appreciate the trust that has built up in our relationship and take pleasure in the opportunity to serve and support you.