by Jack Stone
The Power of the Thank You Note
|Leading With Gratitude
Thank you. Those two words can have so much impact, but are surprisingly rarely heard. Many management books have been written about the power of positive reinforcement. Expressing gratitude by saying thank you is at the heart of the message. The question for the lead is the most effect way to say thank you for any particular individual. Everyone is different. Some want to be recognized in front of a crowd, some in front of the boss. Others would rather you tell them, “Good job!” in the privacy of of an office.
There is one way to get it right every time. Write a thank you note on stationery and mail it to your employee. The computer age, with all the text messaging and email, has made this form of appreciation extra special. Writing something in longhand and sending it snail mail is passe, a lost art form. Why a letter?
Our penmanship is unique; it is ours. No one else can replicate it. When we write a letter we are giving a part of ourselves to another person. As they hold the paper, they not only hold the message but also our essence. They can wonder why we chose the paper they hold. They can see the art in our cursive (or our chicken scratch!). A note of this type will be so rarely seen that they will probably never throw it away. No doubt, on countless occasions they will reread it and continue to be amazed at the idea that anyone would care enough to take the time to do something so special.
Does it really make a difference? Yes! Imagine if the Declaration of Independence had been type in New Times Roman. What if John Hancock’s signature had been bold Ariel font? Would the message have been less? No! But, we are held in awe by the penmanship that carry the words and the names. We can look a the past and connect with someone who lived over 200 years ago. The computer age has robbed us of this type of humanity. In fact, we are rapidly moving toward the electronic signature, the final death knell of the human touch in documentation.
So, dare to take up the instrument of antiquity, the lowly pen, and write a thank you note. Your leadership will never be forgotten.