As any parent knows, teaching young children to say thank you requires incessant reminders, cajoling, and encouragement. I find many leaders are just the same. Just like toddlers who are distracted by their new toy or already thinking about their next game, they often forget to say thank you.

I moved to the US from England eleven years ago and initially Thanksgiving was an unusual holiday to get used to. Now I love the idea of focusing on being thankful, but it needs to extend beyond one day and it requires practice. As you think back to your last month at work, have you taken the time to express gratitude in a sincere way to your team? When your team just solved a complex customer problem or your sales team smashed through their sales target, how do you typically react?

For those it doesn't come immediately and naturally to, here are three ways that can help:

  • Reflect on the last seven days. What are you most grateful for and did you express your gratitude at the time? If not, find time for some catch-up thank you giving.
  • Build in gratitude reflection time at the end of each week, schedule in ten minutes of reflection, and ask yourself who you need to acknowledge and thank.
  • Say it like you mean it. My mum always used to tell me "It's not what you say it's the way that you say it!" She is right, think about your intent and get the right message across. An email thank you is fine once in a while, but how about a quick phone message; a hand written card or another uniquely tailored gesture?

Ten years ago in my corporate life, one of my managers wrote me a hand written note of appreciation. I still have it in my office. He was a man of few words and didn't express gratitude often, so it meant a lot to me. How can you have the same impact on the people in your life?

Thank you for reading and sharing my articles across the globe and Happy Thanksgiving Day.