Don’t Forget to Say Thank You

About my writing: My passion is to develop leaders who have eternity in mind with Jesus as their guide. To that end, I write about two topics. The first is leadership and character development. The second is Biblical principles through the lens of a leader.

Between 2019 and 2022 our organization grew rapidly. The wonderful leaders who led our expansion were so capable that, with the exception of offering my strategy and support together with our senior executives, they really didn’t need me. Even though our leaders did the heavy lifting and impressively carried the project through to completion, I still had one last role to play.

Don’t Forget to Say Thank You

I was reminded of my final role by Clint Boatman. Clint, a successful executive who was our consultant at the time (and is now on our executive team) was instrumental in helping us make the expansion happen. Toward the very end of the project I asked Clint, “Is there anything you think I need to know or do regarding the expansion?”

Clint was quiet for a few seconds, which is unlike Clint who usually has a ready answer. Then he said, “Don’t forget to say thank you.” It took a few seconds for his comment to sink in. Clint, a super nice guy, is usually focused on the business at hand. After all, it’s what we hired him for. He consulted with us to make sure we got the appropriate licenses on time from the state for our new facilities.

When he said, “Don’t forget to say thank you,” I was surprised, pleasantly so. I suppose I was expecting a business-like response like, “I am concerned with the supply chain for our CT scans.” Or, “This license maybe delayed.” So, his thoughtful response made an impact on me that day. I usually pride myself in remembering to appreciate people, but I think I was lacking to express my gratitude with this specific team of leaders.

Shortly after Clint spoke these simple words, I made a small note in my iPhone. I have a dedicated place there where I store what I am learning and observing, and then reflect on it later during my growth time. As I reflected on his words, it caused a shift in my perspective. I found there was a new lesson for me in the area of appreciation.

Show Gratitude Where It Seems Effortless

“Don’t forget to say thank you” meant to me that when my team is doing an amazing job, when things feel automatic and look easy, it’s because of someone’s hard work. Leaders naturally shift their emotional energy to the battle at hand, where all the sparks and fires and emergencies are occurring.

My lesson was that appreciation also needs to be directed where the work seems effortless, where the leaders and teams who are achieving Herculean tasks make it look easy. In reality, it is never easy, nor without effort. So while we must remember to say thank you to everyone we lead, today, I want to remind us to shift our focus and say thank you specifically to the leaders who are accomplishing large feats quietly in the background, those kept who keep the engines running, and beautifully guide their teams toward the goal.

“Don’t forget to say thank you” should be a maxim for life. Hopefully looking through this new lens with me will also color your life of leadership.

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