I put this post up several Thanksgivings ago. I thought it was time to dust it off as we celebrate Thanksgiving in the US this week.
This is a guest post from Mallon Mackenzie. Mallon is an alumna of an MBM training program and works closely with training programs in an operational capacity. She is thankful to be part of advancing economic freedom and to work with so many intelligent and thoughtful people.
Over the last few weeks, I have received various forms of “thank yous” from colleagues. I’d like to think that it’s more than the upcoming holiday season that has prompted these gestures of gratitude, but I don’t mind if it is just the holidays.
At this time of year when thoughts of thankfulness for our country, family, friends, health, and happiness create joy and warmth in our homes and in the world, I’m thinking some thanks could do some great things in the office too. In fact, within this little concept there is a feast of MBM principles and models we can sink our teeth into.
A “thank you” is feedback. It provides a real time signal that you’ve done something of value for someone else. Receiving thanks from our customers is a good, small measure to help us know we’re doing something right. Giving thanks to our customers can also be valuable feedback for them and a smart investment in important relationships. For example, those working in development know that well timed, sincere and simple word of thanks can be the beginning of a prosperous and growing relationship between an organization and a committed donor. Thanks is also recognition and appreciation for a job well done – something employees crave and a valuable message for managers to send. It’s a valuable tool that is available to all of us all the time.
I’ll let you in on a secret: words of thanks can have incredibly long shelf lives. I keep a stash of unexpected thoughtful letters and brief emails from tough-to-impress customers to dip into when I need a little pick me up. No matter how much time goes by, those words of gratitude still connect me to the work I do, make me feel like my job matters and that I made someone else’s day better or easier.
But this time of year we often hear it’s more important to give than to receive. Can giving thanks be just as beneficial to the giver? At its core, I think giving thanks is a gesture of humility. It helps us acknowledge that we need contributions from other team members to get the job done. Giving thanks to others helps us be less focused on ourselves and more connected to team goals and outcomes that we all work towards together.
The exercise of true gratitude helps the giver see situations in a new light. There is a quote from the Roman philosopher Cicero, “gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all the others.” Deep and sincere thankfulness can open our hearts and minds to help us be thankful even for the struggles and opportunities to learn important lessons through failure. It gives us a chance for personal growth, to focus on opportunity and be principled employees.
At the end of a day focused on thanks, I don’t think we need a “thank you” for doing our jobs, but receiving thanks when it’s deserved reinvests us in our work. Giving thanks to others helps us build teams that appreciate each other. And isn’t it the darndest thing that giving thanks gives us a fresh perspective as well?
Thanks to Mallon for submitting this excellent Thanksgiving Day post and generally being awesome! How have you seen “thank yous” work for you in the office?