“My best employee just left to work for my competitor. He said he did not feel that his work here was valued and appreciated. I don’t understand that at all…we gave him a significant pay raise last year!”
This is the lament of a leader who does not understand fully the language of giving thanks…in ways that fits each individual.
Painting thanks with a broad brush can mean even your best and most valuable employees will feel unappreciated. And the end result of that is loss of talent.
In this season of giving thanks, how can you ensure each individual on your team feels like a valued part of it?
You learn to speak their language.
Have you ever observed a situation where a public show of gratitude was made by a leader for an employee who did quality work on a project, but that employee was reluctant to accept the accolades? He or she may have even expressed disdain for being called out publicly. What was meant to be an honor was a great source of embarrassment.
Maybe as a leader, you have given a raise to an outstanding performer, only to see an actual decline in their work afterward.
Or perhaps you have gone out of your way to stop by someone’s office to personally thank them for a job well done, and you hear them later complaining to a co-worker, “All that work, and all I got was a thank you.”
This illustrates the fact that thanks must be delivered according to the communication style of the recipient, not necessarily conveyed according to the leader’s preferred style.
How can you give thanks in a way that truly resonates?
First of all, make it your job to learn the personality styles and strengths of your people. Secondly, communicate accordingly.
In the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report, we cover the style of communication that works for a person – in a way that creates true impact.
There are essentially four types of personalities, and we are each a unique blend of these, plus our life experiences, skills, and environmental factors.
Here is how you can thank your team members in ways that truly resonate.
D – Key word: Recognition
These are your outgoing, driven, results-focused team members. They thrive on recognition for achieving results. In the examples above, this team member would have beamed with pride if given public accolades for their work. Certificates, plaques, article mentions, even a parking spot with their name on it will register as sincere gratitude for a D-wired team member. Be sure that the words expressed speak to results achieved.
I – Key Word: Social
These team members are also outgoing, but in a more people-focused manner. A great way to say thanks to them is to have an office gathering and thank them in front of friends and team members. A team appreciation lunch goes far with an I-wired team member. Add in something fun and festive – a gift, cake, gift certificate, or balloons – and they will truly feel appreciated in their work.
S – Key Word: Thoughtful
S-wired individuals are more introverted. An appreciation lunch with a crowd of people would be a source of anxiety for them. But a sincere, specific, and handwritten note of appreciation for their efforts and how those efforts helped the team, customer, or you would be a treasure. A thoughtful gift, discreetly delivered without fanfare, means a great deal to this type of team member. Tie that gift to a favorite hobby or pastime they have mentioned, and they will truly sense you are a leader who listens and cares.
C – Key Word: Quality
These team members are also introverted, but their focus is not so much on helping people (though they certainly do!), but on completing tasks or solving problems with great attention to quality. When you thank them, thank them privately and give details as to how the quality of their work improved the product, process, or program. Never thank a C-wired team member with a cheap promotional product. Take the time to give them a gift of great quality or a gift certificate to a higher end store or restaurant. Rather than a series of small bonuses, give them one significant one, tied to the quality of their work. It will have greater impact.
Pay raises and bonuses are important for all, of course, but sometimes a simple thank you in the language of each of your team members can have the same – or greater – effect.
Employees expect to be paid for their work, but also do the unexpected…thank them in their language.
For more ways you can connect with your team, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.