I had to chuckle at one of my favorite Mad Men episodes, The Suitcase. Peggy is miffed because Don is not being a thankful boss.
Don: It’s your job. I give you money, you give me ideas.
Peggy: But you never say ‘thank you.’
Don: That’s what the money is for.
It got me thinking of all the times that I have lamented that my boss or colleagues did not say thank you, and yes, I have been brought to tears, just like Peggy!
Receiving thanks is a form of credit and acknowledgement. Does it trump money? As the famous cosmetics titan Mary Kay Ash said, “There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise.”
I do agree with Don Draper that we are being paid to do our jobs, so a thank you is not mandatory. Sometimes, we actually thank colleagues too much, thus trivializing appreciation and making it more of a platitude. Thanks should be reserved only for accomplishments that go above and beyond. Here are five ways to say thank you without actually saying it.
- Share examples of good work in team meetings. By discussing a specific success story and attributing it to the employee(s) responsible, you don’t simply show you are thankful, you indicate that you admire and respect a job well done.
- Tell their boss. Make sure to let the supervisor know that his/her employee has done an above and beyond job. You can tell them in person or send an email with a cc to the employee.
- Give formal public recognition. This form of thanks, whether it be monetary or non-monetary, is very public and informs the rest of the team that you recognize and praise excellence.
- Provide flexibility. If an employee shows a high level of performance excellence combined with responsibility and reliability, allow them greater flexibility as a reward. This form of thanks can include letting them work remotely and/or enjoy flexible hours.
- Do something nice. Rather than a verbal thanks, do something special for the high performer. This thank you could include having their car detailed while they are at work, inviting them to a meal with the boss, or providing a gift certificate for a massage.
Do not feel compelled to over-thank. Reserve verbal or non-verbal thanks for when such appreciation is truly deserved. In the end, it will mean a lot more.