For better or worse, managers and supervisors exert great influence in the work lives of those they supervise. In the eyes of many employees, the organization is no better or worse than the supervisor for whom they work. Volumes have been written about the techniques of good supervision, and organizations regularly invest in managers and supervisors to develop and hone their positive managerial skills and techniques. This investment is a vital component in the achievement of the organization’s performance goals.
Although training and development of supervisors and managers is a vital component in achieving organizational effectiveness and can never be ignored, sometimes the simplest actions on the part of a manager or supervisor can have more positive influence on employees than the most sophisticated management training. An example of a simple action is giving an employee or group of employees a “thank you” for their contribution to the organization.
A sincere thank you is a powerful tool. It costs nothing to provide and is immediately etched in the mind and heart of the recipient. An employee was asked the question: “When you do a good job and make a special effort, do you ever receive a ‘thank you’ for your work?” The employee thought for a moment and replied, “Yes, that happened once 15 years ago.” This is a sad commentary on the work life of this employee, who had devoted himself to the organization with little appreciation for his contributions.
Your employees regularly make special efforts. They’re attentive to the quantity and quality standards, represent your organization capably with your customers, demonstrate reliability, make a special effort to meet work and project demands and deadlines, work cooperatively and harmoniously with others, are amenable to supervisory counseling, abide by the organization’s policies and rules, work overtime, and serve the organization in many other positive ways. Employees know what they’ve contributed to the organization, regardless of any recognition they receive for their favorable efforts. When the supervisor recognizes these positive contributions and says thank you, it validates what they’ve done and confirms that their supervisor noticed and appreciated their effort.
Leaders inspire the heart. Managers and supervisors who regularly and sincerely say thank you to employees for their contributions will engender knowledge among employees that their work is truly appreciated, inspire their hearts, and, as a result, motivate better work in the employee group.
Too often we forget the importance of saying thank you. It’s easy to do and it’s a powerful tool; however, it must become a practical part of our approach to have impact and value. And above all, our thank you must be from the heart. Here’s a challenge: take the opportunity this holiday season to get into the habit of saying thank you, then make a New Year’s resolution to continue the practice. This is just another simple way to position your organization as an employer of choice. IBI