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The power of a thank you

Hello and welcome back to part nine of our ten-week leadership healthy habits mini-series that addresses some of the most significant challenges leaders face in the workplace.

Thank you

These are two small yet mighty words that leaders and team members can so easily overlook.

During the entire 12-month period of preparing for and deploying on my second tour of duty to Iraq, I cannot recall a single time when our Commanding Officer expressed any appreciation for the work that my squadron was doing.

And while this was by no means the main reason I left the Army, it was one of the final nails in the coffin.

Don't get me wrong though, I was, and continue to be, very self-motivated. So I didn't want or need much in the way of thanks.

But it is noticeable when it's absent. And the soldiers whom I had the privilege and responsibility to lead would have appreciated it hugely.

Building a high performing team with gratitude

Having spent two decades leading and developing teams, it's clear that a simple, authentic appreciation of gratitude is a crucial component of high-performing teams. For example, if you want to;

• Build psychological safety within the team; a thank you helps.
• Encourage healthy conflict; thanking those that are brave enough to speak up undoubtedly helps.
• Maintain morale; a thank you helps.
• Create a learning culture; thanking someone brave enough for sharing their mistake and what they learned from it helps.

Throughout my career, I've spotted a trend where the more senior we become, the more clipped our written communication tends to be. Of course, it's not the case for everyone, but it's undoubtedly 'a thing'.

Many years ago, I committed to being the politest leader I know.

I'll always say thank you to those that have helped me.

Sometimes people challenge me on this and say;

"Why should I thank someone for just doing their job?"

My answer?

Because they are human beings.
Because it's the right thing to do.
Because it's a fundamental building block of great teams.

And because regardless of circumstances, people always have a choice about whether or not they continue to work for you.

As they say, if you don't mind your p's and q's, people might decide to move on as I did in Iraq.

Leading a 'Best Company To Work For" with David Pollock

Chess was #1 in 'The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For' in 2018, and has been high up in the top 100 rankings for the last 12 years. David has also been awarded 'Best Leader' by 'The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For' in 2017 and 2018 and won the 'Innovation in Business' for his unique happiness training in 2016, along with many other national and regional awards.

If you want to learn how to create a high-performance culture, this is the episode for you.

Recommended Read

Starting in 1997, Barry-Wehmiller CEO Bob Chapman has pioneered a dramatically different approach to leadership that creates off-the-charts morale, loyalty, creativity, and business performance.

At Barry-Wehmiller, every single person matters, just like in a family. That's not a cliché on a mission statement; it's the bedrock of the company's success.

In Everybody Matters, Chapman and co-author Raj Sisodia show how any organization can stop viewing its employees are simply func­tions, to be moved around, 'managed' with carrots and sticks, or discarded at will. By doing so, disengaged workers begin to share their gifts and talents toward a shared future. Uninspired workers stop feeling that their jobs have no meaning. And everyone stops counting the minutes until it's time to go home.

Click the image to buy the book on Amazon.

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One of the most effective things that leaders can do in uncertain times is to help their teams prioritise.

But we can't do that for our teams if we're not totally clear ourselves.

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