When was the last time someone noticed your effort and said “thanks”? When was the last time you stopped to appreciate others? If you’re like most of us, feeling appreciated is not usually something that happens at work. So here are three tips for encouraging your colleagues in honor of Saint Valentine.
Write a Note of Thanks
Writing “thank you” here and there is a nicety. But writing a meaningful note of thanks is an art form. Here is a breakdown of what makes a thank you note personal and meaningful.
- Greeting (make sure you spell their name correctly)
- Tell them you are grateful – Use the words “thankful, grateful, appreciative” and then state exactly what they did that made you have those sentiments.
- Elaborate with detail – Tell them why their actions or talents made your day easier, happier, or successful.
- Compliment them as a person – Let them know that their actions or talents are an extension of who they are and you appreciate knowing or working with them.
- Restate your thanks once again – Just bring it back full circle by restating in simple terms what you said in the opening line.
- Give your Regards – End with a closing that is appropriate for a thank you note. Sincerely, Best Regards, Gratefully, Fondly are all options.
Here is an example.
Thank you for staying late to complete the paperwork and take care of the plane. I made it to our family event on time thanks to you. I am glad to be a part of a flight department where we help each other out. You know I will do the same for you. Thanks again.
Sending thanks by email is fine. A handwritten note on a handsome piece of stationery or card stock is even more special. For more ideas, the book On a Personal Note: A Guide to Writing Notes with Style by Angela Ensminger and Keely Chace can help you sharpen your skill.
There is nothing like a spoken word of praise to boost morale and make people feel valued. The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson gives specific steps for a spoken word that is personal and creates a lasting impact.
- Tell people what they did right – be specific.
- Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps the organization and the other people who work there.
- Stop for a moment of silence to let them “feel” how good you feel.
- Encourage them to do more of the same.
- Shake hands or touch people in a way that makes it clear that you support their success in the organization.
It might go something like this.
You walk into the hangar and find Jim, one of the maintainers, working on a plane. “Jim, can I speak to you for a moment?” you ask. Jim stands up. “I just want to thank you for coming in late last night and switching out that part. Thanks to your hard work and flexibility, we were able to take that trip today. Those passengers know nothing about the sacrifice you made, but I do.” Pause a second and then pat Jim on the shoulder while stating, “I am so glad our department can count on you to go the extra mile when needed. Keep up the good work.”
Now at first glance, this may seem a little contrived. And for some of us, it may come off a little stiff. But being an encourager or stating our appreciation doesn’t always come naturally. More and more, we are finding that soft skills are sorely lacking in flight departments and other parts of the aviation industry as well. So give it a try and keep on trying. Find your own style but make it personal and watch the face of those you practice on. Seeing that smile or the spring in their step will make it all worthwhile.
Scratch the Open Door Policy
We’ve seen it all too often. Management is dumbfounded as to how the people in their department could feel unappreciated. “We have an open door policy,” they state. “People are free to share their ideas and problems at any time. How could they feel as if we don’t listen or care?”
The minute someone is given a title – be it Manager, Chief Pilot, Director or the like -the wall goes up. The relationship changes. It seems to be human nature to distance ourselves from those in authority. More often than not, an open door policy means few people dare to cross the threshold.
So take the time to leave your desk or the comfort of your chair and meet people where they work. Go and meet them where they are. Ask how the day is going. Ask if there is anything they need in order to do their job more efficiently. Ask if they have any ideas on how to improve the workplace or give better service. Taking time to visit with them on their turf is disarming, shows your interest in their work, and inspires collaboration.
Gratitude is a great way to share the love and make work a nicer place to be. It also works pretty well on your spouse and children. So try it out on them today and you’ll be all the better prepared for work tomorrow.
We do on-site leadership and soft skills training which is practical and learner centered. If you’d like to explore ways to increase collaboration and promote an atmosphere of trust and appreciation in your workplace, Contact Us.