By Gary Young, GaryYoungInk
A week ago, my wife, Pam, and I were in the Newark airport awaiting our flight home to Minneapolis. Pam noticed two military men having a sandwich before their own flight. Seeing that that they didn’t have anything to drink, she said, “I’m going to ask them if I can get them anything.” My initial reaction was that familiar tug of Minnesota self-effacement. (Like Garrison Keillor of “A Prairie Home Companion” noted, “Jesus said the meek would inherit the earth, but so far all we’ve gotten is Minnesota and North Dakota.”)
Then I thought, such a little gesture would probably go a long way in expressing our appreciation.
A Little Thanks
One should never underestimate the power of small gestures. The impact can make a huge difference. For example, I read recently that former Nabisco CEO Douglas Conant made it a point every day to write five to ten personal notes of gratitude to employees and others. What’s better than receiving a handwritten thank-you note – especially when it’s unexpected?
In The Manager’s Book of Decencies: How Small Gestures Build Great Companies, author Steve Harrison cites a number of little decencies we can do in the workplace. At the top of the list is “Remember to say thank you-or better yet, write thank you notes.” Others include:
- Greet coworkers authentically and personally
- For meetings you convene, be the first to sit down and the last to get up
- Welcome visitors by name. Better yet call them “guests”
- Answer your own telephone
- Give away recognition when things go well; hoard responsibility when they don’t
- Convey bad news in person
- When you make a mistake, admit it and apologize