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Maybe I'm getting old, or this particular holiday season is getting to me, or maybe I've taken a piece of my own advice and slowed down which gives me more time to smell the roses. No matter, I've been thinking about the power of saying thank you.
'If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” - John Quincy Adams
When a leader thanks others for their help, service and effort, that leader inspires trust, confidence and an appreciation for being noticed. Ask yourself how it makes you feel when someone you admire thanks you for your efforts.
'If you want to be a leader, remember to treat all people with respect at all times; first because you'll need their help, and second because it's a sign you respect people, which all great leaders do.” - Simon Sinek
It should feel good to be recognized. However, when it doesn't feel good, why not?
Maybe because the 'thank you” you received is overly gratuitous or insincere. So when you thank someone, do so with integrity and intent. Mean what you say.
'The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” - Max Depree
I have a boss who regularly asks what obstacles prevent me from being successful. She then becomes a 'servant” to obliterate the obstacles that prevent my success.
I can't be a successful employee without her leadership - minimizing or breaking down obstacles - and she can't be a successful leader when I fail. She knows this and thanks me for my efforts.
Likewise, I thank her for her ongoing support and leadership.
'A ruler should be slow to punish and swift to reward.” - Ovid
A simple thank you is a simple reward. When expressed with commitment and sincerity, a 'thank you” can go a long way to inspire appreciation and commitment from others.
Perhaps most important point I want to share is this: 'thank yous” shouldn't begin or end at work, with communities and in organizations. I firmly believe 'thank yous” begin at home.
A leader's success often requires understanding, encouragement, support and sometimes sacrifice of many close family and friends. I'm always impressed when a person is publicly recognized for their leadership, and they take the time not to glow in their success but instead to thank those who helped them, especially their parents spouses, and/or families.
So as we celebrate our respective holidays with employees, colleagues and family, take some time to be reflective. Think not only of yourself, but those who have helped you along the way. Then, with heartfelt sincerity and appreciation, thank the people who matter most for their honest contributions to your success and leadership.
Kind words of 'thank you” from a true leader will warm hearts and help inspire the holiday spirit.
So, with those thoughts in mind, thank you for reading this column and sharing your feedback.
' Alex Taylor is associate director at the University of Iowa's Tippie School of Management, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter handle: @ataylorataylor