On appreciation: a thank you goes a long way

It's the time of year to offer gifts. The best possible gift, in my view, is to demonstrate your appreciation, says Hilary Jeanes of PurpleLine Consulting.

 “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ~ Voltaire

“When you meet people, show real appreciation, then genuine curiosity.” ~ Martha Beck 

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” ~ Dalai Lama

It’s the time of year to offer gifts.

The best possible gift, in my view, is to demonstrate your appreciation.  You can do that at any time of year.  And it costs absolutely nothing, as this story shows...

Recently while visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum with a friend, I got talking to a lady (Janet, I later found out) in the wonderful Calligraphy Today exhibition.

She overheard me enquiring whether there was a postcard of one of the beautiful exhibits. She said it was in the catalogue, showed us where to find it and asked whether we were aware of a talk there by the creator of the collection, which was about to start. When I asked if she worked at the Fitzwilliam, Janet said no, she was unemployed, and as she had lots of time had become an expert on free events in and around Cambridge. 

She had been so helpful that I asked whether she was looking for work and when she said yes, I offered to give her a couple of hours of my time. I gave her my business card and as soon as Janet saw my name she said ‘I know you. We used to work for the same organisation. I remember that you wrote a letter of thanks to my boss after I did a piece of work for you. In fact I still have it at home’. I was bowled over.

I asked her name and recalled the incident. I had wanted to get some urgent printing done just before the office closed. Normally the response was ‘it’ll have to wait until tomorrow’. But Janet overheard my request to her boss and offered to stay late to get the job done. She went the extra mile.  And I wanted to acknowledge that. 

The amazing thing is that I left the organisation we both worked for over 10 years ago. And yet Janet remembered that appreciation as if it were yesterday. 

Which just goes to prove this quote from Maya Angelou: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

A thank you can go a long way. It’s so easy to let people’s efforts go unacknowledged, particularly in the workplace where it seems more commonplace to point out to people where they are going wrong. I know, I’ve done it myself! 

If you’d like to be different, these suggestions for demonstrating appreciation in a work context are a good place to start.

Have a great Christmas. Enjoy the opportunity to spend time with those you love and recharge your batteries for the new year ahead.  And show some appreciation...


Hilary Jeanes is a leadership coach, facilitator and HR Consultant.  Her business, PurpleLine Consulting, supports people to realise their potential.  You can contact her on 01763 245323 or by email Hilary@PurpleLineConsulting.co.uk


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