Acknowledgements and AppreciationsBy Jennifer Hibbits
Maybe it’s because it’s December, or possibly because I am writing numerous thank you cards as a bride that this month’s coaches column is about acknowledgement and appreciation. It’s a rare occurrence that someone is over-appreciated. My thought is that we don’t express our gratitude to others enough.
I learned last year at a leadership training program at Rancho Strozzi Institute, that there are three acts in the area of gratitude. I may not represent them exactly, but I think it’s relevant to share at this point. First, there is “Giving Thanks.” Not only is this good manners that we all need to be better at, but it’s good to be on the receiving end, particularly when it’s unexpected.
Secondly, there is “Expressing Appreciation.” The dictionary defines it as “to value justly.” It even sounds like there is more thought put into it. I’d say that it’s important to point to clear, explicit examples of the person’s behaviors or actions that you want to acknowledge. Finally, there’s “Being Grateful.” Gratefulness is a larger magnitude; this is reserved for those people that have forever shaped you, possibly a teacher, parent, coach or child.
As leaders, it’s important that we frequently express our thanks and appreciation to those around us who assist in our daily lives, play on our team, make a difference with us or others, and do the little things that make each day better. At this time of the year and particularly at this time in our history, it’s even more important to speak these acknowledgements publicly.
In this way, you are honoring the individual and letting others know the difference that person has made for you, your team, and your organization. It builds the person’s credibility and may shape others’ respect (or listening.remember generous listening!) of them.
It’s our belief that people are dying (literally) to make their contribution to their team, community or organization. It’s our jobs as leaders to listen and say “Thank You.” I invite you to look in your life, at home and at work, and pick five people that you would like to acknowledge. Here are some basic and important skills you can practice.
• Put some heart and thought into what you’d like to say. Take the time to do it well.
• Be specific. Point to the person’s action, behavior or result.
• Let them know what it allowed for, made possible, and what it means to you.
• Look at their eyes when you express your appreciation.
• Don’t forget to say the simple “thank you.”
You may even want to drop a note to your letter carrier. Now that’s a job that rarely gets acknowledged!
And on that note, we would like to express our gratefulness to you for allowing us to do the kind of work we truly love. We are thankful for the time you spent in our programs, we are grateful for your partnership in leading change in your organizations and communities, and we are deeply appreciative for the opportunity to stay in communication. It is our belief that making a difference in women’s leadership changes the world. As more women are able to speak their vision (at whatever scale), take action on it, and powerfully partner with men, the world is better for it!