We know we want to build a culture where our employees feel safe (personally), have autonomy, gain mastery and have pretty much the same values as their colleagues and leadership. A lot goes into building and actively managing such a culture. One simple thing is — thanks. The open and often public acknowledgement of a well made decision, upholding the corporate values and/or good work done.
My sense of things is that in the day-to-day “busyness” we find ourselves in, we often forget that simple “thanks” can mean so much to ourselves and others. There are many ways to acknowledge a person or team for their contribution. One way I like (but find difficult) is the simple handwritten note to say “Thank You” for a specific job/decision well done. As an aside, the reason I find hand written notes to be difficult is because my handwriting and spelling are terrible so I have become totally dependent on technology (Thank You MS Office, G-mail, WordPress and MailChimp!). I might be too hard on myself, yet my belief is I am doing you a favor by not writing a note — at least not in cursive! I have taken the time to hand print — in my best engineering block letters — a note and I suspect that is just as good as a neatly written cursive note. Since I’m confessing, I will admit I often type things out in Word to makes sure of the spelling before hand-printing the note. And I’m told that the young people (Millennials) have a hard time reading (and many haven’t been taught) cursive handwriting. So printing makes more sense.
Find Ways to Say Thanks
Other easy and very effective ways to get across our appreciation is to make a simple statement in staff meetings or project meetings. We have to be a bit careful about singling out people for praise unless we believe we really know who is contributing. That shouldn’t be an excuse, just a caution to make sure we don’t leave out key players who just simply aren’t as visible.
In my mind, the single most important function of a true leader is to build and actively manage the culture — the values, vision and mission — of the organization. We should be focused on the proper integration of new employees and be the guardians of the corporate culture. I like a culture of appreciation, gratitude and thanks. And what could possibly be more fun, exciting and important than building such a culture?[Updated 9/16/2017]