Is It Time To Stop Saying Thank You?

Jul 18, 2018 3 Min Read

Honouring the behaviours that deliver results

Gratitude, honour, and recognition are so much deeper and more powerful than just saying thanks.

It’s true that a heartfelt “thank you” can make someone’s day. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference, but don’t sell yourself short.

Withholding Gratitude:

Leaders withhold gratitude for fear of creating complacency. If you say thank you too much, people will think they’ve arrived.
Fear of complacency invites leaders to withhold gratitude.

Freedom to Express Gratitude:

Thank team members for behaviours that produce results, not the results themselves. Use gratitude to affirm strengths, recognise effort, and honour desired behaviours. You miss opportunities by focusing only on results.

  1. You planned that event perfectly.
  2. Your delegation skills are amazing. How do you choose people who get things done?
  3. I noticed how hard you worked to…
  4. Thanks for softening your tone with that frustrated customer.
  5. I noticed how you pressed through personal reluctance to face that difficult issue. That quality will take you far.

READ: Saying ‘Thanks’ Is Not Enough
Public Acknowledgement:

Speak well of others to others. The next time you and a teammate run into the big boss, brag about your teammate. Let your team members hear you bragging about them to the boss, customers, and other teammates.
Continue saying thanks, but public acknowledgement is better.

Brag Fest:

Ask people to brag about others. Don’t ask them to brag about themselves. Lift your team by going around the table bragging about each other.

  1. What strengths do you see in the person sitting beside you?
  2. What contributions are the people around the table making to this project?
  3. How does the person across from you bolster a positive environment?
  4. How have they developed their strengths?
  5. What attitude do you admire about _____?

Honour behaviours that deliver results.
I love a good thank you, but there’s so much more to gratitude, honour, and recognition. Plus, it’s free.
How can leaders make gratitude, honour, and recognition part of organisational culture?

Dan Rockwell is a coach and speaker and is freakishly interested in leadership. He is an author of a world-renowned leadership blog, Leadership Freak. To connect with Dan, write to us at

Reposted with permission

Share This


Tags: Emerging Leadership


This article is published by the editors of with the consent of the guest author. 

You May Also Like

team members giving and receiving recognition

Gratitude and Recognition in the Workplace–The Benefits and Top Practices

By Gregg Vanourek. Boost workplace morale and productivity with gratitude! Discover benefits and ways to show appreciation. Don't let your team feel undervalued.

May 15, 2023 8 Min Read


The Young Leading the Young

Andrea Chew, Co-Founder of MAD For Good, tackles the topic of young managers, young teams, and everything in between. 

Oct 31, 2022 22 Min Podcast


A Day In The Life: Number Plate Maker

As a child, it never occurred to Chiang Chen Seng that he would choose number plate making as his profession.

Sep 02, 2012 5 Min Video

Be a Leader's Digest Reader