The Icing on the Cake

For the last 7 years, I’ve been asking participants in my seminars, “What words of encouragement have you been given at work?”

And then I stand back and watch to see who’s writing something down.

Most people have an answer. But not everyone. Depending on the audience, I’d say somewhere between 5% and 15% of people struggle to think of positive words that have been directed to them in the workplace.

Pat Summitt, the former head basketball coach of the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols (and second winningest NCAA coach of all time), stated, “In the absence of feedback, people will fill in the blanks with a negative. They will assume you don’t care about them or don’t like them.”

And that’s a shame, because it impacts motivation and productivity.

Glassdoor, the career and job analysis website, determined that 4 out of 5 employees work harder when their boss steps up and shows appreciation for their work. Appreciation is a huge motivator.

But as noted by one of my class members, “Routine or flip thank yous don’t mean a lot; thoughtful and articulate are much more impactful.”

Thus, You’ve Got to Get This Right!

If you’ve ever witnessed one person speaking of another, and found yourself with a lump in your throat, or a tear in your eye, you’ve experienced the power of a HEARTFELT TRIBUTE! Remember that feeling.

It only comes from real, authentic, unbridled … thankfulness.

As a leader, you can certainly name many reasons why it’s easy to become cynical, disgusted, angry, disengaged, frustrated. But what about thankful? Good reasons abound for a generous spirit. Are you actively doing the hard work of quieting the noise around you, and being appreciative of people coming to work, and trying their best in difficult times? Why can’t you be the one in leadership that cherishes people, and lets it be known?

Express your gratitude. Authentically. And from the heart.

It will make things better. For everyone.

– Jerry Strom

Twitter: @JerryRStrom. For more information about our leadership and team development programs, please visit . Join the mailing list to receive new articles as they are published. This article is based on research conducted for ‘Words of Encouragement,’ by Jerry Strom & Company, Inc. Find short insights on Twitter at #WordsofEncouragement.

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