I’ve noticed lately that the words “thank you” seem to be uttered less and less. It’s as if we make assumptions that things are supposed to be given to us or go our way without any sort of thought or concern about the efforts exuded by the person giving you what you requested.
I recently participated in the Circle City Classic parade and spent my time walking the parade route passing out toys to children. My heart was full as I looked into their eager little eyes anxiously awaiting receipt of whatever treat I pulled out of my bag. When each child received a toy, they squealed with delight and were quick to show a friend, parent or loved one the gift they had received. Half-way through the route I approached a little girl whose little face will forever be etched in my mind. I walked over to her and held out a toy. She looked straight into my eyes, gave me a snaggle-toothed smile and proudly said “thank you”. I immediately said your welcome and turned to the woman next to her and said, “Is this your baby?” to which she said, “es.” I said, loud enough for everyone to hear me, “Do you see this little girl – I’ve been passing out toys along this entire parade route. She is the first baby to say thank you.” I will never forget how proud her mother looked when I made that public service announcement.
This interaction got me thinking about my professional interactions and the numerous times I never hear the words “thank you”. Within our places of employment, leaders are pulled in many different directions and are responsible for managing the needs of an array of individuals with unique backgrounds, capabilities and needs. We bend over backward to ensure employees are satisfied, that the work we ask them to do is challenging yet not intimidating, engaging yet not intrusive, accommodating yet not overbearing. We move mountains to satisfy clients, put their needs before our own and leave no stone unturned to find the next big thing to separate them from the competition. So much is done, and so little appreciation is shown.
I’ve been working with a particular client since starting my business and we never start a conversation without saying ‘good morning’ or ‘hello’, and asking how the day is going. ou better believe that when I am asked to do something I hear the words ‘thank you’ not once, but twice; once when the request is made and again with the task is completed. Years ago, we made a commitment that we would always be mindful of our manners and never take one another for granted. This has helped us build a relationship based on mutual respect and candid communication.
I challenge you to track the times that you say thank you in the course of a day. Instead of telling your boss you need time off and assuming it’s ok, try asking for the time off and if it is approved, say ‘thank you’. When payday arrives and you are breathing a sigh of relief because you can pay your bills say, ‘thank you’. When you are given an opportunity or shown a little grace from your boss or your company, say ‘thank you’. You will never believe how far those two little words will take you.