Last night I read a wonderful article in Entrepreneur about giving praise to your staff. It was wonderfully written, but I thought the article was missing the most important element of praising your staff-sincerity. So with that in mind I wanted to highlight the reasons why sincerity should be included in your praise package.
A sincere thank you is a million times better than a well-crafted one.
I agree that there are certain guidelines you should follow for keeping a thank you short and sweet, but ultimately if it isn’t sincere it isn’t going to make a difference. The key to a great thank you is acknowledging that an employee saved your behind and really came through for the company, the structure of the thank you is not as important as the spirit of it.
Many times a thank you is off the mark because this may have been the only positive light for the employee; in that case you shouldn’t try to make their situation look better. Say thank you for what they have done now, don’t try to create a trail of good deeds if there isn’t one. Let this one incident serve as positive reinforcement. Be sincere.
Feedback is best received when it’s true
Many leaders think that if something is wrapped in the right delivery it will be better received. While that is true to a point, an honest thank you will serve as the kind of feedback that is remembered. I think back to when I was a kid and the teacher or coach that offered out thanks only when you had truly done something amazing was the approval that I wanted.
You shouldn’t say it if you don’t mean it
I’m going to go against my mother here and wager that you shouldn’t say thank you if you don’t mean it. It’s like an insincere apology. It doesn’t accomplish anything but the other party knows that you don’t really mean. When I thank my staff, I want them know that they really saved my butt out there and I could not have done it without them.
Showing gratitude is a great for staff morale and employee engagement, but done for the wrong reasons it can actually do more harm than good.