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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Join the discussion 4 Comments
The blog reminder is very timely for me personally especially with the recent transition of my mother of nearly 95 years. It is still very painful for me to fully grasp the fact she is no longer with us. Moreover, we still continue to receive substantial and exceptional gifts from neighbors, friends, business associates, fraternity brothers, and many others even several weeks after her passing. The contributions of these well-wishers to the memory of my mother are special, valuable and significant and provide great comfort and thus need to be treated and respected with the proper response; a handwritten note of care. Despite the sheer volume of these gifts a measured and heartfelt response is appropriate and warranted. Texts and emails don’t build high-quality and sustainable relationships; these require a healthy dose of quality time to develop into something truly special and meaningful; quality time includes sharing special moments, laughing together, visiting those special and unique spaces/places and engaging in endless fun and more. Spending quality time is akin to writing a great and thoughtful thank you note. where expressions of love and togetherness cannot be fulfilled by texts, social media and emails alone. Therefore, as with quality time; at every opportunity, the correct response should be applied; a handwritten note, However, some additional insights include the fact we depend so heavily on an auto spell and grammar checking and thus some preparation is needed prior to the execution of the final note and it is transmittend–this bog response is written In loving memory of my mom–MS Ethel L Harris; who transitioned June 14th, 2019
Garry, thanks for sharing. So sorry about the loss of your mother. Hang in there.
While most people can appreciate the genuineness of personal hand-written notes and letters, that second point under the article’s “EXERCISE” section is often overlooked: “Get your hands on some good quality paper (remember, it’s going to be a keepsake).”
Thanks, JH, for including this point. Today, personal (and business) hand-written communications on paper are a rarity – and therefore, a gem. So, to clients and colleagues, I (JodyTucker.com) frequently pitch the importance of “quality paper” – on those rare and special occasions when paper is used. Essentially, the quality of the paper should match the quality of the heart-warming (or business-value) message. While quality paper is expensive, its elegant, emotional, and intellectual texture, and its positive psychological effect on the recipient justifies the price. The Southworth brand of paper is an exquisite choice: https://www.Southworth.com/business/100-cotton-business-paper
Thanks, Jody. I agree 100% with your comments, especially about quality paper. Thanks for providing the resource/link to a company that has great card stock.