With our inaugural newsletter arriving just after Thanksgiving, I would like to share four thoughts with you on two of the most important words that leaders should consider incorporating in their vocabulary – Thank-You. These two words carry a lot of meaning both for the giver and the recipient.
First, we all appreciate being thanked. We don’t do things for others to be thanked, but we do appreciate the Thank-You when it comes our way.
I spent forty-four years coaching and teaching at the high school and collegiate levels. As the years went on, I was fortunate to receive a number of Thank-You notes form former players and students. I was so moved by them that I named a drawer in my dresser my “Keeper’s Drawer.” This was the drawer where I put these notes. I have yet to take the time to relax and read through them, but I certainly plan to do so. Therefore, I know first-hand that Thank-You notes are appreciated by the recipients.
Secondly, I played in college for a coach named Gordie Gillespie. He was and is an extraordinary coach and man. He has been inducted into seventeen Halls of Fame and is the winningest coach in the history of collegiate baseball. No one I have ever known has written more congratulatory or Thank-You notes than Gordie. I recently had lunch with our former college president and the former executive director of our park district. When Gordie’s name came up in our conversation, both men referenced a Thank-You note they had received from him. These two men received tons of correspondence in their working years, but they remembered with great appreciation the note from Gord.
With email becoming so prevalent in today’s society, leaders may consider using the hand-written note more to thank their constituents. We know a Thank-You is appreciated and the hand-written note can make the Thank-You more personal. Something to consider.
Thirdly, the German philosopher, Meister Eckhart wrote something that succinctly covers Thank-You when he wrote, “If the only prayer you ever say is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough.” Especially in our country, we have so much to be thankful for. My good friend and fellow coach, Jack Hermanski, has a great perspective on this. He has fought MS for the past seventeen years, but consistently reiterates, “I look around and see so many people who have it so much worse than me.” Despite his plight in life, he remains thankful for what he has. “Thank-You” may very well be our greatest prayer.
Finally, years ago I heard an historian say, “You know who built this country? The top politicians did not nor did those of wealth. The ‘nobodies’ built America. The everyday working man whose work often goes unnoticed and unappreciated built this country.” So, leaders may want to consider thanking those in their organization who are rarely thanked. Thanking the nobodies could become an important part of your leadership value system.
Thanksgiving could have leaders reflect on how much Thank-You notes are appreciated; the value of the hand-written note; the prayer, “Thank-You;” and thanking the nobodies.