Giving Gratitude? Say. Their. Name.

Say their name when giving recognition. It's your job. Stop making excuses like, "I'm afraid I'll forget someone." Say their names.
It's important to say their name when you recognize and celebrate employees. In this image, a business woman speaks from the stage as she celebrates and thanks the team that surrounds her in the audience. Source: Midjourney.

When it comes to gratitude. One of my personal pet peeves is when somebody in management says, “Well, I didn’t want to list the names of people because I was afraid I’d forget somebody.” Sorry, but I call bullshit. That is one of your responsibilities as a manager.

As a leader. One of your jobs is to know who did the work, how they did it, who was responsible for it, and what they achieved. The results, too.

It’s no different than if you are a programmer and your responsibility is writing good code. No different than if you are a security analyst and your responsibility is keeping the systems updated and secured right.

In every role, we might make mistakes. As a manager or a leader, when you’re thanking a team. You might miss somebody – just like any other role when a mistake is made. You can fix it, though, right?

The programmer goes back and fixes the code. The security analyst goes back and closes the loop – removes the virus.

The manager or leader who misses somebody goes back and sends an email and says, “Holy crap! I can’t believe I completely forgot Morgan when I was saying, ‘thank you’ to everybody. Morgan, I want you to know we appreciate the work you did on that system. The fact that you stayed late that extra night, you know, I can’t believe I missed you in the email recognition. Thank you!” And you can send the email to everybody, make sure they know right?

It’s your job and your responsibility.

The next time you think, “should I list their names? Or should I just be generic and say, Oh, I want to thank the team?” No! Say their names.

Remember that Dale Carnegie quote, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest sound in any language.” One of your responsibilities as a manager or leader is a part of your gratitude. Make sure you’re calling out the names.

Until next time, keep serving.

This post also appeared on our LinkedIn newsletter at:


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Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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