If there’s one simple thing that has helped my business thrive and grow over the years, it’s gratitude. And not just being grateful in my own time and sharing on avenues like social media #blessed. I’m talking about telling the people who have supported and helped me grow “thank you.”
It’s something that a lot of entrepreneurs forget to do and, in some cases, think is unnecessary when it comes to growth.
Here’s why they’re wrong:
Team members know real gratitude from bullshitting
If you’re in the habit of saying a quick “thanks” by email or, worse, not at all then your team members will slowly drift from being raving fans and supporters to bitter and disenfranchised.
This isn’t a millennial “tell me I’m special” demand but the acknowledgement that you’re not the only one contributing to the success of the business. Team members are often behind the scenes working long hours and don’t get to enjoy all of the fun and glamorous parts of owning a business. Being thankful to the people who enable you to do great interviews, keep your website up, and who handle all the details you hate just makes sense.
Your attitude matters more than the words
Too often I hear “your thank you is the paycheck you receive” or “I don’t want to coddle my team” and that kind of poisonous attitude will ripple throughout your team.
Listen, the paycheck an employee receives is contractually obligated for their time and work. Gratitude is simply the appreciation of their diligence and dedication to the job. And real appreciation isn’t about celebrating someone for putting their shoes on, it should be an acknowledgement of skill and value.
But, my team isn’t that great…
If writing your team members a thank you note, sending them a voice message, or even a bonus is out of the question because your team just isn’t that good, then you have a choice to make. Either adjust too-high standards (because most of the time people are doing the best they can with the training given) or replace your team with people who do make you proud.
Not every team member is without flaws but if you want your team to do better, try harder and impress you further, then you don’t withhold thanks. Doing so will only discourage team members trying their best.
I’ll do that as soon as we (insert goal)
Like most entrepreneurs, you’re probably always striving for the next big thing so believe me when I say you’re not going to take time out once you land that speaking gig, finish your launch or publish your new website. There’s always going to be another new thing to accomplish and that’s probably why you need to make time to say thank you now, no matter what’s going on.
In corporate careers feedback is more structured with annual reviews, a hierarchy of managers and opportunities to move up with promotions over time. Working with entrepreneurs is like trying to spin 100 plates in the midst of a hurricane and as soon as one task is finished, 3 more spawn in its place.
Gratitude doesn’t have to be a big bonus, new computer, all expenses paid vacation or new car. You can send a handwritten card, small gift, or record an audio note. One of my favorite things to send is a gift card for a spa or massage since so many of the wonderful people I know don’t take time out for themselves.
Support people who support you
Up until now I’ve focused on the team who works in your business but you likely have a whole network of amazing people who have supported you in various ways. From listening to your late night worries, reviewing a sales page, making an introduction or vouching for you to a colleague, these people deserve your thanks as well.
Some people really do deserve a nice gesture such as that aforementioned spa day, fresh flowers or fruit basket while other connections can be thanked by providing your own expertise or a willing ear to listen. So often the people who support you are not keeping track like a long term game of karma-trading so make it a point to give genuine thanks and be open to helping them in return.
I’ve shared before how sending a quick thank you email led to joining the YEC, which helped me get a feature in the Sunday New York Times. As I mention in that post, you can’t predict where these relationships and connections will take you so don’t neglect them.
Thank those who make it all possible
Entrepreneurs who treat their followers and clients like an ATM drive me crazy. Those who join your list, follow you on social, buy your programs and products are the ones who make this crazy thing we do possible so treat them with respect.
Let me ask you this: when was the last time you said thank you to your audience?
Show your appreciation to those who are doing the work, supporting your business and sharing the work you do with others.
Action step: I’m sure you can think of 3 people right now who deserve to hear a genuine “thank you.” Make a point to deliver that message before the week ends.