JS Tip 450: Giving Thanks

From the Leadership Workshops: Giving Thanks


There’s a play on words here.

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving.

Part of leadership is finding the good and reinforcing it. Saying “Thank you.”

All too often, employees—associates—don’t realize they’re doing something well, and, without reinforcement, they fail to repeat the behavior.

Four suggestions for saying “Thank you”:

It’s got to be short. Quick and to the point. It can’t drag on.

It’s got to be specific. Identify specifically the behavior you thought was well done.

It’s got to be sincere. “Hey, hey, hey, what will it take to get you into a nice, shiny used car today?” No. No plaid coats. No plastered smiles. No slickness.

It’s got to be soon. Compliment the behavior when you see it. Don’t delay. Effectiveness is inversely proportional to time.  


  • Stella, you did a great job with the woman at the counter—the woman who couldn’t find her wallet—just now. You were patient, helpful, and friendly. You did a great job. Thank you.


Short: Thirty-four words. Maybe twelve seconds.

Specific: “You did a great job with the woman at the counter—the woman who couldn’t find her wallet.” Stella knows the incident. It was the woman who couldn’t find her wallet. Bingo.  

Sincere: Well meant. Encouraging. Supportive.

Soon: “Just now.” It just happened. Immediate reinforcement.  

Appreciated behavior becomes repeated behavior. Give thanks.

We love this stuff. Every single tip. And we appreciate you.  

This tip builds on one we did several years ago. It’s still important

Mark Brooks