A simple “Thank You” can make you a better leader

Remember the last time a client, boss or co-worker gave you a hand-written thank-you note to tell you you’re doing a good job? Maybe someone at work surprised you with flowers, an unexpected gift or a bonus. Has a vendor ever slipped you a gift card for a fancy coffee treat to show appreciation for your loyalty?

It feels good. It might even have prompted you to keep up the good work. You might have thought back to that gesture when you toyed with moving to a different company or switching vendors.

Your gesture of appreciation doesn’t have to be a gift. Simply saying “thank you” can go a long way toward improving employee morale, retaining valuable staff members and keeping your clients coming back. In fact, in survey after survey, employees have said:

If they don’t feel recognized for doing good work, it has prompted them to apply for a job at a different company.

More appreciation from bosses would make them happier at work.

They prefer written or oral “thank you's” over extra time off or gifts.

Saying “thank you” is a simple but powerful gesture. And it can lay the foundation for a positive relationship with bosses, subordinates and co-workers when the time comes for you to ask someone to go the extra mile.

Showing appreciation builds goodwill. People appreciate being appreciated. Someone who feels appreciation from you is more likely to return the gesture by agreeing to your requests. They want to let you know they appreciate you, too.

I can share a practice of my own that works for me: As a small business owner, I hand-write thank-you notes on fancy paper and mail them in time for Thanksgiving delivery each year to every client, employee and vendor I have ever done business with — even former ones.

You don’t have to spend a ton or money or time saying “thank you.” Simple gestures can be just as powerful as grand ones. For example:

A note — handwritten or via email — that includes a specific reference to something the recipient did for you can elevate a casual business relationship to a more important one.

Posting a positive online review for a company or a service professional takes just minutes. But its impact can be enormous.

Returning a favor after someone has done one for you tells the other person the relationship is not one-sided.

Some sincere words of appreciation can pick up an employee or coworker.

A gift card worth as little as $5 is still a gift. Hand them out to people who serve you year-round.

When you say “thank you” to someone who said “yes” to a request, you pave the way for the next “yes.” Follow the lead of the most successful sales professionals whenever someone gives you something or does something for you: Realize that hearing a “yes” isn’t the end the deal. It’s the start of the next one.

Cindy McGovern speaks and consults internationally on sales, interpersonal communication and leadership. She is the author of Every Job is a Sales Job: How to Use the Art of Selling to Win at Work. She is also the CEO of Orange Leaf Consulting, a sales management and consulting firm.

One comment

  1. I send thank you cards to each of our customers after they pick up their jobs. We are a custom fabrication shop and we only see some of our customers 1 time or not again for 10-20 years. I want them to know that they are valued. Nothing makes ME feel better than when they call me to "thank me" for the "Thank you" card! I've always enjoyed getting cards in the mail. It seems that others do as well!

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