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The two most powerful words in team building?

When the sheep are successfully herded into the pen we give them a rub around the head, say “well done, great job”, maybe give them a treat. We thank them. We show gratitude for a job well done.

thanking sheepdogAs a dog a few words and a pat on the back are probably enough. As humans we have more complex needs so the need for gratitude and recognition goes a little further.

In my many years as a full-time shepherd, I looked after 6500 sheep with the assistance of just two dogs. So my expressions of gratitude were brief though seemingly sufficient.

When building my direct sales team I had to give more thought about the way I thanked people.

One of our greatest cravings is to be appreciated and a simple ‘Thank You’ is better than no recognition at all. Sadly it happens.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.

Cicero

‘Thank you’ on its own comes from the head as an automatic reaction. From the heart is where the gratitude really counts – and makes a huge difference to how the recipient feels as a result.

Stating why you are grateful and how it’s made you feel is a good start eg “I’m aware that you worked late last night on this presentation, it’s made a real difference so I really thank you for that.” Even better is to add any further impact their action may have had, perhaps: “The presentation will have so much more impact with the way you have made it look, which will address the various learning styles of those attending”.

Consistently recognising the efforts of others results in their feeling more energised and motivated. They feel they have gained your trust and are empowered to carry out future tasks. Imagine if all team members feel like this, what effect it has on behaviour.

How could you improve your team’s performance through genuine praise and recognition? When you next thank someone, state more reasons for the gratitude. It will leave them feeling even better – and you too!