Please and thank you. Ah, the magic words that we’re taught never to forget. Using them is a lesson that’s drilled into our heads as we’re reminded time and time again to say “thank you” when invited somewhere special, or to say “please” when we want to share a toy or take a turn. After a while, those magic words become automatic and part of who we are. As kids, we quickly learn that good things happen when we use them. Unfortunately as adults, especially when at work — we sometimes forget.
Think about it. When was the last time you personally thanked an employee, a freelancer, or a team of people for a job well done? Sure, they were probably paid to do it, but a simple thank you will go a long way toward making them want to do it even better the next time. All too often, managers lose sight of the morale- and business-building power of acknowledging people for their efforts. We forget that employees who feel appreciated and valued will always strive to do their best — and will motivate others to do the same.
Last week, I traveled to Warner Robins, GA, to see my sister promoted to Colonel in the United States Air Force. If ever there was an example of the motivational power of employee recognition, this was it. And, while the ceremony was formal, it really all boiled down to the Air Force asking her to do a job and then thanking her for doing it well. Oh, and with the promotion, came a new job – one of the biggest on her base – and she gladly took it on.
In addition to thanking and motivating my sister, the Air Force did the same for everyone in the room that day – family, friends, supervisors, direct reports, and the Four-Star General (the first woman to earn this rank) who presided over the ceremony. My chest – and heart – was bursting with pride. You better believe that my suitcase returned home filled with Air Force shirts, pins and car decals for all! Imagine the awareness-building power of having your employees and their families proudly displaying your company logo wherever they go. Just a simple “please” and “thank you” could do the trick.
At the risk of moans and groans from fellow parents at the mention of Barney (the purple dinosaur who entertains kids with life lessons set to song and dance), I couldn’t help but think of his “please and thank you” song as I wrote this post. Give it a listen and you’ll hear:
He’s talking ’bout please and thank you,
They’re called the magic words,
If you want nice things to happen,
They’re the words that should be heard,
Barney is right on with this one. They are the magic words we learn when young and ones well worth remembering always. They come at no cost to give yet can deliver endless return on the investment we make in our employees and on the success of our businesses as a whole. Please join me in using them today!
Cover Image Credit: yoursproutsenroute.com