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Simply Say Thank You (#164)


The Confident Leader


“Robin, I think I need to show more gratitude for the work my team is doing, but I’m struggling with how to do it well.” said Mike, the CEO. Leaders indebted to their team secretly struggle with saying, “thank you.”

“And you never say ‘thank you’!” (Peggy: the employee). 

“That’s what the money is for!” (Don: the boss)

— Don Draper (Mad Men)

This Week’s Edition

When should you say “thank you”? 

Clarify Your Thinking

Mike shared his gratitude conundrum. “I recognize the talent, collaboration and hard work of my team. I am truly thankful for them. I’m not sure how to express my gratitude.”

“What do you think is fitting?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Just saying, “thank you” seems a little hollow.”

Mike’s response is similar to the challenge other leaders experience related to the difficulty of saying, “thank you.”: 

  • It’s implied. I don’t need to say it out loud.
  • Words alone may sound trite to my team.
  • Too often I forget to say it.
  • I’ll say it when we get results. 

Leaders may be spending too many mental cycles on something that has a fairly easy solution. 

Old Thinking: Do I really need to say, “thank you,” out loud? Sometimes I forget to say it. I’ll say it when it matters. 

New Thinking: I probably should express my gratitude for their effort even prior to the end result. I should do it early and often to test how it resonates with my team. It can’t hurt.

Thoughts Lead to Actions

Studies show that nearly nine out of 10 people wish they heard “thank you” in their daily interactions. There is a direct link between a leader expressing gratitude and the job satisfaction of employees. 

  • A “thank you” culture, leads to employees enjoying their jobs – a key retention element. 
  • Grateful leaders motivate their employees to be more productive – a key growth element.

Follow these three steps to show your gratitude:

Step 1: Be aware of the effort someone has put forth.

Step 2: Think about the aspect of that effort you want to reinforce.

Step 3: Say, “thank you,” to express your gratitude and reinforce the behavior. 

  • “Thank you for starting the meeting on time.”
  • “Thank you for staying late to complete that task today.”

When “thank you” crosses your mind, be aware of it. Just say it. Don’t hesitate.

P.S. It’s possible that most teams are in a “thank you” deficit. So, any concern about your over-use possibly cheapening the intent is probably unfounded. 

Boost Your Performance

We concluded our National Confident Leader Week just over a week ago. Watch this week’s video to watch me practice what I preach – say “thank you” for the vast number of people who helped make NCLW a success. 

What’s Your Opinion?

Who are you going to say, “thank you” to tomorrow? Share it with me at

If you are going to be a leader, you might as well be a good one. Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

We live to make bad leadership extinct so forward this newsletter to others who strive to be confident leaders. 


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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.