I’ve been having difficulty recently with some people in my life – people in positions of power. This is in a context of a volunteer organization, but it holds just as true in business.
The two most motivating words are: “Thank You.”
These days it seems like much in the world is about pressure, about getting things done, about getting things out of other people. It’s about what I can get, what I can take, what I can win.
In that kind of world, things tend to fall apart because everybody’s taking and nobody’s giving. Society works over the long term because there’s a balance of give and take, whether money is in the middle of the transaction or not.
Thank-yous and other forms of appreciation and encouragement are a form of currency. Particularly when you’re working with volunteers, many times that’s ALL you are able to give, because you don’t have money to give in exchange for their contributions.
If money was always necessary, then volunteer organizations wouldn’t exist. But we see all the time where people will actually volunteer more time and energy than they will in their job, and many times their money as well. Clearly money is flowing the wrong direction here: A volunteer works hard AND pays money?
What’s flowing the other direction is appreciation, encouragement, a sense of contribution, and a larger purpose. We all need those things in our lives in order to feel like we’re here for a purpose, not just to fill up space for 70 years and then be buried.
So why are words of appreciation so rare? Well, they’re less rare than you might think, because they tend to be subtle and individualized. The most effective ones are, at any rate.
But we don’t tend to use this as much as we should, and it’s one reason why so many workers are feeling unappreciated right now. Just because they’re receiving a paycheck at the moment doesn’t mean they won’t be looking to escape to greener pastures – where it feels like they’re doing something valuable – when there’s more jobs available.
If you want to keep working and living with the people who make your life worth living, then let them know you appreciate them. Be sincere, be generous, and be encouraging.
That’s a magnetic combination.
by Carl Dierschow