The Value of Making Time for Gratitude

While it is good to schedule times to ensure you share your gratitude, even better gratitude is that in which a leader makes the time to say thank you, promptly

Thank You, Danke, Merci, Grazie, Gracias - Make Time to Say Thank YouI recently wrote about the importance of praise for your team and suggested establishing a routine (perhaps Thank-You Thursday) to ensure you did not allow too much time to pass before you shared your gratitude. That post stemmed from my own faltering, as I applied the principle to improve my own leadership. Now, I’ve realized another opportunity for improvement in my praises – ensuring I make the time to thank promptly.

An Example of Rapid Gratitude

For the second year in a row, I was honored to speak to a class of mentoring participants at Hope College on the principles of Servant Leadership.  Following that event, two days later, I received a handwritten thank-you card from the Center that hosted the program. I received a similar note of thanks, from the same center, following the same event, a year earlier. Both times I was especially impressed their personal nature, promptness and something else. It was that something else that I want to emphasize here.

Making the Time, Quickly, To Say Thanks

What really impressed me was that the organization made the time, quickly, to say thank you in a personal way. Too often, we get one or two these three key attributes to good gratitude right:

1.       Rapid: We follow up quickly with our appreciation

2.       Personal: We express the gratitude in a personal manner

3.       Make The Time: We share gratitude regardless of what else is on our plate

For example, to be rapid, many leaders will have default thank you notes or cards. In some cases, we’ll even prepare our note of thanks before the event takes place, so the gratitude can follow quickly. Yet, in these cases, the appreciation lacks either that personal touch or the importance of the leader clearing their schedule to say thanks.

Make Time to Say Thank You

That is where I fell down: I failed to make the time to share my appreciation. This past week, as I wrote emails to two team members whose anniversary with the company I missed by 5 days, I realized I’d let them down. I had not prioritized my gratitude for them and all they do for the company. They were both very appreciative of my notes, but it bothered me that I did not make the effort, sooner, to say thank you. So while it is good to schedule times to ensure you share your gratitude, I now realize the even better gratitude is that in which a leader makes the time to say thank you, promptly.

Question: Do you make time to say thank you promptly? Do you know other leaders that do and how does it impact your team?


Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

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

2 thoughts on “The Value of Making Time for Gratitude”

  1. Thanks for the great reminder to recognize immediately after the behavior. I love the term you use – rapid recognition! If only we all recognized rapidly! Recognition that is delayed can actually have a negative impact on the recipient! Managers and leaders should make a special effort to practice rapid recognition by simply adding important dates (like employee birthdays and anniversaries) to their calendar. Thanks again for the great tip!

  2. Juan Carlos Giraldo

    Agree with You 200%..Because My father always said : We have Two very importants words in this world…Thanks and Yes !
    And is Amazing how people like Brian Solis ,David Meerman Scott , and Robin Fray Carey Social Media Today CEO, and Others VERY VERY IMPORTANTS leaders , have the time for say Thanks after a comment , How you think that I felt? Of course is motivation for us !Great Post..Juan Carlos ps.. Actually I wrote a post about Attitude on my Blog !

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