It is 7 a.m. I swing myself in the saddle of my mountain bike and head off for my office. It’s a 45 min ride along narrowly winded paths through the pristine countryside. I love it. But I am not alone. Every morning I bump into quite a few dog walkers that enjoy the quietness of the morning and the untouched nature.
Typically, when I approach them, I carefully ring my small bicycle bell for them to become aware, slow extremely down not putting anybody at risk, and finally pass them with a sincere and unmistakable thank-you.
The reactions of the people I meet have so far fallen into three categories. There are the how-dare-you folks, who feel offended by the bell’s ring, moving only defyingly aside and uttering some unpleasant words. Next, come the okay-we-got-it people, not pleased to have to make way and seemingly looking down upon me when letting me pass. And finally, there are the we-appreciate-your-careful-approach characters, responding nicely to my thanks with a polite “you’re welcome.”
But this morning, I was struck by surprise. I learned that there is a fourth category of passersby. I came across a middle-aged couple, who pulled their Labrador off the path, smiled at me, and returned my thanks with a heartfelt “we thank You.” I’ve never heard it before. A blend of positive emotions immediately shot through my heart and mind. The effects of this sudden, sincere, and authentic appreciation lingered on my mind the whole day and finally made me write about it. Two simple words made my day! It’s that easy.
But it doesn’t appear to be that easy in corporations. CEO David Novak talks about a global recognition deficit and refers to a widespread lack of appreciation as the #1 reason why people leave companies. In his best selling book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen R. Covey gives us the rationale why appreciation is that important stating: ” Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.”
Hand on heart, when did you last time appreciate a team member with a sincere and authentic thank-you? It does not take much, but it pays a lot. Start today! Make your team members’ day!