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Have We Forgotten The Art of Thanks?

Appreciation“Saying thank you is more than good manners.  It is good spirituality.”  ~Alfred Painter

Having spent a good amount of time within corporate America and volunteer organizations, I’ve witnessed thanks on both sides of the coin. Sometimes, you encounter thankful people who are undoubtedly appreciative of you and your contributions, while at other times, a simple “thanks” barely gets verbalized.

It is truly unfortunate when individuals give their all for the “big guy,” to never receive as much as a thank you. Or, hard working individuals who work their tail off for a project, volunteers who relentlessly give their time to an organization or a cause, and employees bend over backwards to accommodate their company’s last minute deadlines, all with very little appreciation shown.

Although this may seem typical, a lack in thanks can often go both ways. Managers will stick their necks out for their people, leaders will take the responsibility of their people’s mistakes or misdoings, and bosses will give their employees more than several chances to prove themselves, all without any appreciation or gratitude sent their way.

This culture of thanklessness has become all too prevalent. When given an opportunity to see the good, we tend to see what is bad or wrong. And thus, in an instant, the simple act of appreciation or verbalizing the words “thank you” tend to get lost.

I experienced this during a recent meeting for a volunteer organization.  The leader of the group held a meeting to expressly thank the group’s members for their dedication and time, and for all of the work they had put in over the last couple of months. She expressed gratitude for the projects completed and goals reached, and went so far as to tell the group how much she valued them as team members. When the leader was done, she turned the floor over to the group’s members to solicit their thoughts. The members proceeded to ask questions and then provided several points of constructive criticism. Only at the very end of the conversation, did one member of the group take a moment to thank the leader for her efforts and contributions.

We have bred a culture of problem solvers and maximizers, constantly seeking out what is wrong so that we can “fix” things. And although you could call this “progress,” it begs the question, does our need to fix what is wrong give us permission to become lax in appreciation? By no means should we thank people for poor or shoddy work, but a simple thank you to show gratitude, isn’t that something worth verbalizing?

Appreciation is an important component to our relationships, professional or otherwise. A simple thank you goes a long way. It makes us feel appreciated, respected and valued.

Do you think “thanks” is on the downswing? How do you show appreciation to others?

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