The two most important words that inspire action are thank you.
During most of my time in the military, I rarely said thank you to the troops that mattered…especially the younger, enlisted folks. After all, I was the fighter pilot. I had the Air Force Academy ring. I was an officer. They worked for me!
I was cocky, had an ego and wasn’t a wingmen.
It wasn’t until I chewed out a young maintenance technician that I learned the power of thanks. (My commander had me spend a day on the hot, sticky flight line working with the troops. It made me truly appreciate what those unsung maintenance heroes did to make sure I could fly.)
Saying thank you:
- Acknowledges the humanity in others
- Makes people feel respected
- Builds trust
- Inspires action
- Facilitates open communication
- Differentiates you as a leader
Saying thank you fills a person’s “action tank” with the most important fuel to action – appreciation. It gets people to work hard, volunteer, and sometimes do things they may not want to do.
So say thank you every day – Not just to your unsung heroes who help you, but also to your peers, supervisors, customers, friends and children. Don’t take them for granted. Write a personal note. Take them to lunch. Send them a small gift. Acknowledge the good things that they do and the difference they make.
Most of all – do it sincerely. You’ll be impressed with the actions that follow.
Start with the heart, and the hand will follow.