Grateful For Gratitude: November Frontline Festival

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, November’s Frontline Festival is about forms of Gratitude. I am grateful for my amazing colleagues and subscribers for your contributions and comments. Please comment at the bottom of this post, as we celebrate our gratitude together: What are you most grateful for this Thanksgiving?

How to Give Thanks and Praise

Frank SonnenbergFrank Sonnenberg Online, offers Ways to Say You Care There are many ways to say that you care. This free, downloadable poster provide some clever examples. Follow Frank @FSonnenberg.

Matt McWilliams, Life. Leadership. Love. Learned the Hard Way, brings us How to Write a Thank You Note  The title says it all. Some people are intimidated by writing great thank you notes…but Matt will show you how. In fact, Matt is offering a free ebook on Gratitude. Follow Matt @MattMcWilliams2.

Dan McCarthy, Great Leadership, shares 10 Questions and Answers for Managers about Praise  “Praise is one of the most misunderstood, powerful, and underutilized management skills. This post is a reenactment of an actual coaching conversation I had with a manager who sincerely wanted to learn how to praise but didn’t have a clue how to do it.” I love this practical and useful list. Follow Dan @greatleadership.

Tanveer NaseerTanveer Naseer Leadership brings us, How Two Simple Words Can Energize Your Team and Grow Your Business “Research has shown that expressing gratitude is not only a nice thing to do, but that it can fuel employee motivation and drive organizational growth.” Follow Tanveer @TanveerNaseer.

New to the festivalJulie Pierce, Empowered by Pierce, offers  5 Simple Ways to Thank Your Team People are blown away by simple expressions of praise, affirmation and gratitude. This post offers five simple ways to thank your hard-working team. Follow Julie @julie_pierce

David Dye, Trailblaze, brings us, Do They Know? If you lead to bring out the best (not wring out the worst), David suggests that everyone is a volunteer and everything your team does is a gift to be received with gratitude. Follow David @davidmdye.

The State of Gratitude

Mary Jo Asmus,Mary Jo Asmus, shares Being in a state of gratitude Some thoughts on the difference between “thanks” and “gratitude”. My favorite line, “Gratitude requires presence and vigilance to notice.” Follow Mary Jo @mjasmus.

Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership, brings us Say “Thank-you” Gratitude is the secret of a happy life. Follow Wally @Wally BockGratitude copy

Joy and Tom GuthrieVizwerx Group, LLC share their wonderful strategic art (right).

Greg Marcus, The Idol Buster shares Be Grateful for the Good and the Bad  Gratitude in times of trouble brings strength, and puts energy towards the solution. I enjoyed the powerful and poignant stories he shares. Follow Greg @gregmarcus2.

Mike Henry Sr, of Lead Change Group offers Gratitude for Weakness Four ideas about how weaknesses make me humble and a better team member. Mike shares a beautiful exercise worth trying this Thanksgiving. Follow Mike @mikehenrysr

Lisa Kohn, of Thoughtful Leaders Blog, brings us I don’t have to be grateful after today…do I? “Drivenness can work against us, where nothing is quite good enough and we’re never satisfied. Lisa offers thoughts and ideas for keeping the Thanks-giving spirit alive even after the holiday is over. Follow Lisa @ThoughtfulLdrs.

Carrie Koens, Carrie’s Busy Nothings, shares Three Years of Thankfulness  “Looking back over 3 years of daily thankfulness, and how it has changed my outlook and my life.” I invited Carrie to join this festival because I’m always inspired by how she shares her gratitude, daily, through social media. Follow Carrie @CGKoens.

Alli Polin, Break the Frame, shares  Ditch the Stress; Choose Gratitude  She shares how 5 minutes can change your frame around gratitude. Follow Alli @AlliPolin

Also a new to the Festival, Regina Verow, Creatively Conscious, shares How To Change The World One Tiny Step At A Time She shares fantastic suggestions on how each us can make a real difference in the world, including “radical gratitude.” Follow Regina @reginaverow

Grateful For Work

Jennifer Miller, The People Equation, shares My At-Work Gratitude List This post puts a spin on the tried-and-true Gratitude List – by bringing it into the workplace. What are you grateful for at work? Follow Jennifer @JenniferVMiller

Julie Winkle Giulioni, Julie Winkle Giulioni, brings us Context Changes Everything This post starts with gratitude and moves on to discuss how when employees understand the bigger context of the workplace, it can change everything – from how they work to how they feel about their work. Follow Julie @julie_wg

Cheri Essner, Cheri’s Blog, shares, My Project Management Sermon “Why PM resonates to me as a global way of renewing empowerment around the world through the use of our practice.” Follow Cheri @cheriessner

Jon Mertz, Thin Difference, offers Democracy: 5 Ways You Can Make It More Meaningful  “Our democracy gives us so much to be grateful for and, in our gratitude, comes a responsibility to do more and participate in meaningful ways.” Follow Jon @ThinDifference

Family Inspired Stories of Gratitude

John Hunter, Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog, shares Respect for Everyone, inspired by his Father. “He made a big difference to people by improving the management system within which they worked, but what they remembered was the face to face respect he showed to everyone.” Follow John @curiouscat_com

Kimunya Mugo, Lead By Choice shares Gratitude – a Leader’s Hallmark At three o’clock in the morning, our 4 years old daughter called out, “Daddy, I want to go to the toilet!” I did my daddy duty… When I was done, she cheerily said to me, “Thank you daddy.” A wonderful reminder of the power of the simple acts of gratitude.  Follow Kimunya @KimunyaMugo

Bill Benoist, Leadership Heart Coaching, shares his poignant post Holidays and Family. “I like to keep these weekly posts about career and leadership, but sometimes we need to remember family too, especially around the holiday season. Not only remember our family, but the families of those we work with.” Follow Bill @leadershipheart

gratitudeThe December Frontline Festival is about Gifts and Giving (open to interpretation). Submissions due December 13th. Click here to submit your post.

how do I recognize my employees? Recognition that works

Recognition Power Words: The Phrases that Mean the Most

Think of the best recognition you’ve received.
Who said what, and why was it meaningful?

Twice this year someone has told me “I am proud of you.” Both times, I was surprised to find myself really choked up. My reaction was so strong that I got to thinking about why. I wanted to understand what it was about THIS recognition that made an impact, so I could do a better job of giving THAT kind of recognition to others.

“Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
~Rudyard Kipling

Who: In both circumstances, I had deep respect for the person who said it.

What: What I had accomplished was important to me, and it felt wonderful that others were noticing.

The Words: The words were powerful.

There is something about being recognized at just the right time, by just the right person, with just the right words. When done well, those words can stay with us forever.

And so, inspired by these moments, I reached out my on-line communities of leadership thinkers, coaches and writers and asked:

“What words make the biggest impact when providing recognition?”

I got lots of inspired and heart-felt responses from many people across multiple groups. There is real power in the on-line leadership thinking community. Several leaders weighed in that the most important part is the specific examples, acknowledging the details of the contribution. Others shared the value of a handwritten note that is “simple, timely, and personal.” Several rightfully warned that people are motivated by different things, and trying to project our preferences on others is a mistake.

The most dialogue came from the LinkedIn Organizational Development and Training Forum.

Sara Ting raised the consideration of culture and how that impacts how we want to be recognized, and how we approach recognizing others.

Marian Thier discussed the psychological impact of our words: for example, “I’m proud of you” could connote a parental approval relationship, while “well done” sounds more masculine and non-specific, “like an athletic coach.”

Dayrl Cowie provided possibilities for meaningful words based on personality types:

“Inspiring Personalities (e.g. sales people): “That was awesome”, “I really owe you one” (fun, give & take type words)
Commanding Personalities (e.g. directors): “Nice job” “That’s why you’re the man” (ego, self-esteem)
Supporting Personalities: “Wow everyone loved that” “I really like what you did for everyone” (Everybody loves you)
Analyzing Personalities:”That was brilliant” “How did you do that?” “Way to stand up for what you believe in” (How’d you do that? or, congratulations on moral grounds)”

All fantastic conversation and interesting points.

The majority weighed in with the words and phrases that have meant the most to them, or that they tend to rely on.

Here are a few of my favorite recognition power phrases.

Recognition Power Phrases

  • I trust you
  • Great idea! Let’s go with it.
  • You have made a significant contribution to ___.
  • You really helped me out
  • You’re a difference maker
  • You are a gem
  • This is one of the best__I’ve seen
  • We could learn a lot from __ about this
  • We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for ___
  • ___ has set a new standard of excellence for us all to strive toward
  • Glad to have you as part of OUR team
  • You are doing exactly what you were meant to do in this life

Words That Stand Alone

  • Excellent
  • Outstanding
  • Inspirational
  • Exceptional
  • Extraordinary
  • Remarkable
  • Natural

Of course, recognition can also backfire. See Candy isn’t Love and Pizza Isn’t Leadership.

Your turn. What would you add? What recognition power words make the biggest impact for you?

leadership development Karin Hurt and David Dye