The Stuff Strong Relationships Are Made Of
BY Jeff Haden
The best way to get help is to give it. But there's one other step that's just as crucial to building strong working relationships.
Recently I wrote about the power of gratitude. But, as a number of readers pointed out, I only told half the story.
When you express your gratitude, in a sincere and heartfelt way, you make a powerful and lasting impact on the person you thank.
But what I left out is the powerful impact you make on yourself.
As Warren Shaeffer, founder and CEO of Thankaday.com, a tool that helps people record and share their gratitude in an easy and fun way, commented, "... sending someone a sincere and genuine thanks is very beneficial, both for the giver and the recipient... as William Ward said, 'Feeling gratitude and not sharing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.'"
All of us have a ton of gratitude presents, all wrapped up and ready to go, that for whatever reasons we haven't ever given to the people in our lives that deserve them.
By hanging on to those gifts we don't just deprive the recipients of thanks and appreciation. We miss out on the opportunity to feel a little better about ourselves and to rekindle or spark better personal connections.
So let's remedy that. I'll start.
I worked for R.R. Donnelley for 17 years. The graph of my career path, while far from a hockey stick, still showed a nice upward arc... until the day I got fired or I resigned or some combination of the two. (While seemingly contradictory, if it's happened to you, you know exactly what I mean.)
I made calls. I talked to recruiters. I reached out to industry connections. Nothing. So I touched base with people I had helped in the past; certainly they would return the favor?
Then Randy called. I had worked with Randy at Donnelley; he, being braver than me, had left a few years prior for a better opportunity. "Hey, I've got something for you," he said. "You should work here. The plant was just purchased by an investment group and they're looking for people to turn it around."
So--in spite of the fact there wasn't actually a job opening at the time--Randy got my résumé to the right people and pushed and prodded and cajoled until he, not I, landed me an interview.
Sure, I got the job because I was qualified. (It turns out they created a job for me.) But he got me in a door I couldn't open.
Without Randy I never would have been interviewed, much less hired. Randy changed my life--not because I asked, not because he somehow felt obligated to, but simply because he wanted to.
Now it's your turn. Pick a person who has helped you. Pick a person who has made a difference in your life. Pick someone you haven't thanked or haven't thanked properly.
Then make gratitude a verb. Share it. Deliver that already wrapped present. Express your appreciation, sincerely and openly.
Everyone loves getting presents. Everyone loves giving presents. Don't just feel gratitude--show it.
It only takes a few seconds, yet the people who deserve your thanks will love it--and so will you.
JEFF HADEN learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden