Chapter 9

The Power of A Thank You

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.

The Power of 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 who 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 you become, the more clipped your written communication tends to be. Of course, it’s not the case for everyone, but it’s undoubtedly ‘a thing’.

Better People, Make Better Leaders

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.

I’ve got more information on the power of a thank you in the video, along with another challenge for you to complete!


Further actions

Listen to this Podcast

Mastering Leadership through Deep Listening with Oscar Trimboli - Episode 137

Oscar Trimboli is an author, speaker, and host of the acclaimed Deep Listening Podcast. In this episode, Oscar unveils the profound impact of active listening on leadership and communication.

In this episode you will learn how leaders can transition from listening merely to respond, to actively listening with the intent to understand.

Mastering Leadership through Deep Listening with Oscar Trimboli

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