Two words that, when spoken sincerely, can evoke positive emotions and reinforce positive behaviors. If spoken words have that kind of power, imagine what putting those words in writing will do! Yes, it is an extra step, but the extra step often yields a greater return.
If increasing workplace engagement is part of your goal as a leader, it requires getting to know each person individually, understanding and meeting their needs. We all want to feel valued, significant and recognized as unique individuals. When we practice behaviors that meet those human desires, we have the potential to create stronger emotional connections and consequently, increase workplace engagement.
Don’t believe me? Let’s put it to action!
Write a thank you note to a direct report and see what happens. Let me know if your words of sincere appreciation for work done well make a difference. In some cases, leaders have the ability to transform cultures and produce stronger business outcomes just by taking the time to write sincere and individual thank you notes.
Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup Company, is a great example of a leader who revived a struggling brand by spending time with employees and simply writing thank you notes. In a Forbes article on The Value of a Well-Written Thank You Note, we learned how he was able to get buy-in from his employees on his organization’s vision just through making this simple, yet effective, connection.
Here are three great reasons to consider handwriting your next thank you note vs. emailing or texting:
- Texts are a dime a dozen and easily deleted. Emails often get lost in the blizzard of other incoming emails and eventually end up in the electronic File 13 (also known as trash)! The rarity of a handwritten note makes it valuable.
- Texts and emails are equipped with backspaces, edits and deletes making them seem less genuine. Handwritten notes appear to be more genuine and reflective of the sender’s honest feelings.
- A handwritten note is a keepsake of your unique penmanship. I am sure I’m not alone in that I can uncover handwritten notes from years past that still evoke emotional connections to the sender. I store mine in an encouragement file for those rainy days.
Think about the last time someone took the time to write a thank you note to you. How did it make you feel? Did it put a smile on your face? Did it give you just a little more strength to keep going? Do you refer to it on your rainy days?
Let’s try it.
- Think of 3-5 people (co-workers, friends, family or neighbors) you want to recognize for doing good work or something positive.
- Get your hands on some good quality paper (remember, it’s going to be a keepsake).
- Write a note of thanks or appreciation to those individuals. Specifically mention the effect their work, attitude or behavior had on you and/or others.
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