We’re posting from the United States, where we’re celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. Thanksgiving’s a great reminder to all of us that gratitude is one of the most powerful engagement tools a manager can use. When used honestly and sincerely, it’s impossible to over use.

But in reality, we’re probably each a little guilty of under using it.

The crab from The Little Mermaid looks crabby, has a crabby personality, and is clearly throwing a fit (and his lettuce). Hasn’t there been a time you’ve felt this way?  Maybe even lots of times?

It goes to say then, that probably your employees and maybe even your bosses feel this way too.  No one really can appreciate what each person goes through to accomplish something.  Complicated accomplishments take skill, knowledge, support, time, effort, confidence, and dedication.

Folks that make these things look easy could use more acknowledgement and gratitude – since they’re unlikely to throw their lettuce down and say, “I hope you appreciate what I go through for you”.  By the time someone says and does something like that, they’re feeling disengaged.

So even if you’re feeling a little under appreciated, take a moment to think about someone that could be more appreciated and extend a bit of gratitude their way. “Thank you” is nice, but even better hit these points:

  • Be specific
  • Acknowledge the effort
  • Share the impact

Sebastian the Crab dodged and distracted the ship’s cook and overcame numerous attempts on his life so that Ariel (the Little Mermaid) was able to attract the attention of Prince Eric, her one true love. While “Thank you” is nice, talking about how he really impacted the story would’ve been nicer, had Ariel been focusing on her leadership skills.

Make the gesture appropriate to the task and the gratitude, a little celebration of work well done. You could make their day.

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