A Slice of Turkey & A Side of Thanks!

November 30, 2016 by FlexPro

The speed at which time passes never ceases to amaze me. One minute I’m planning our summer parties and the next thing I know I’m Christmas shopping. It feels to me like we were just talking about New Year’s resolutions, yet here we are celebrating Thanksgiving. Such a wonderful time of year and the perfect time to stop and reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. I know how thankful I am for all of the blessings in my life, but I also know that I might not always express my thoughts to the people who mean the most. It’s easy to just assume they know how I feel –  that my daughter knows I appreciate that she helped me take care of the food, or my husband knows I’m thrilled at all the things he fixes around the house for me. Did I thank them? Sure I did….right? Hmmmm.

The thing is, we could all do a little better at expressing our thanks and gratitude. Sometimes I’m so busy running around I forget to stop and show my appreciation – like when my husband fixed the garage door opener. I ran out the door, late for an appointment and didn’t even notice that it worked.  I did notice later, then forgot to say anything about it. I felt terrible that he had to bring it up before I remembered to thank him. With our busy lives, it’s too easy to start dismissing kind gestures when they happen. Not that we don’t appreciate them, I believe most of us do. I think that in many cases we put off showing our appreciation, then the moment passes and we’re either too embarrassed that so much time has gone by, or we just plain forget – because so much time has gone by.

In project management, it’s just as important that we recognize our team and their efforts. It’s an easy trap to fall into when a team member or even the whole group excels and as the PM we think, “well that’s their job”. And maybe it is, but a little acknowledgment can go a long way. I recently read an article by Geil Browning in Inc.com that I just loved. It was titled, “How to Thank-Your Employees in Only 8 Words“.  Browning offered some excellent advice on how to show appreciation with just a few simple words while connecting with your team member on the strengths that they bring. Browning suggests, When you thank your employees, be prompt. Recognize the kind of effort you want to see again soon. And be spontaneous. Don’t wait for a holiday or company-wide event to thank your employees. Of course, be specific, too.”

I like the idea that thanking our employees or team doesn’t have to take long. It’s more important that the words are tailored to the type of person that they are. I do this myself with my team. As an example, for my team members who pride themselves on being thorough, I find the opportunity to thank them for being detail oriented. For the ones who are more about team building and relationships, I thank them for caring about others. For the team member who is the calming influence when things get crazy, I recognize them for being able to keep their composure in the chaos. Much of it is about “mirroring” that person’s style in the words that you choose. Do not underestimate the power of a sincere show of appreciation. Browning says it best, When you recognize the contributions of others, you reinforce the kind of behavior you want to see again. People who feel their efforts are noticed, and their work makes a difference, are more likely to go the extra mile in the future. Leadership is about empowering others to realize their own abilities. Communicate your belief in your people, and watch them rise to meet your expectations.”

As we sat at our Thanksgiving feasts this Thursday, patiently waiting for the platter of turkey to make its way around the table, I made sure to remember to give thanks for all that we have. Not just on our annual day of giving thanks, but all year long as well. As Geil Browning explains in her article, it doesn’t take much to show someone that we’re thankful for their contribution. So, this Thanksgiving I took a slice of turkey with a side of thanks!

-Lynn Faughey, FlexPro COO

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