Thursday, September 8, 2011

It Never Gets Old

Photo by HuNo
I recently spent time with a group of nonprofit leaders discussing a wide variety of issues relevant to the sector. When I reviewed their written evaluations of our time together, I was surprised at the frequency with which one concept was mentioned as their most valuable take-away.

The prized concept of the day? Saying thank you.

We had discussed how gratitude is so vital to everything we do and we had discussed practicalities - how to say thank you in ways that are meaningful to the person you're thanking. The reminder to be consistent and relevant with our gratitude was easily the most frequently cited material we discussed.

Some of the most lasting, fundamental, and impacting truths are also some of the most basic.

But sometimes these are also the most difficult to implement consistently. Do we let ourselves fall into habits of entitlement or do we recognize the miracle that is another person freely giving of their time, love, energy, or skills?

Effective leaders and managers are consistent and precise with their gratitude. Remember that "keeping a job" or avoiding being fired only produces a minimum amount of effort. Everything beyond the minimum - we do that because we want to.

When I am teaching leadership to young people, I encourage them to start with the basics. Surprise whoever cooks their food with a specific bit of gratitude: "This chicken is great - thanks for taking the time!" But the same goes for adults - is their any marriage that couldn't benefit from more frequent "thank you for washing the laundry or taking out the trash" ?

Basic appreciation - it never gets old.

Thank YOU for reading today and for sharing this blog with those who might benefit!

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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