"Steve Farber, a fellow devotee of leadership and superb public speaker will frequently ask his audience: “How many of you have ever received a note from someone expressing sincere appreciation for something you did?” Most in the audience will raise their hands. “And how many of you still have that note?” Again, most will keep their hands up. He goes on to ask how long the members of the audience have kept the notes. “Five years?” “Ten years?” “Twenty years?” Many hands remain even as Steve asks “Twenty-five years.” But the record is forty years, and when Steve asked his respondent if he remembered what the note said, the person reached into his pants pocket and pulled the note from his wallet. After forty years, he still considered it one of his most prized possessions.
How many of us have kept a similar note? And for those of us who have, what is our opinion and feeling about the person who wrote it?
These are not rhetorical questions. The ability and willingness to express sincere appreciation is one of the most valuable skills of leadership communication. People will tend to willingly follow others who make them feel good about themselves.
It sounds simple, yet the expression of sincere gratitude is rare…witness the significance of those notes. It is simply not easy, and frequently not considered important to convey real appreciation in our world where convention rather than authenticity rules most of our communication."When is the last time you demonstrated "authentic appreciation" for your Sailors? If it hasn't happened in the last 24 hours, you are behind the power curve.