How Do You Show Gratitude?Share via
In my latest book, Compassionate Accountability, I reference this blog post from 2020 inspired by the experience and observations of my middle daughter, Emily, who was working in customer service at Home Depot at the time. This post generated more comments and controversy than any other post I’ve written. It’s all about how we experience and express gratitude.
Appreciate You vs. Appreciate It.
Here’s what I wrote in 2020.
Emily helps a lot of people every day, both over the phone, and in person. Sometimes she even helps people take stuff out to their vehicles. Although not everyone shows gratitude, she receives plenty of appreciation for her efforts.
The other day Emily called me to ask a PCM Question. As a Process Communication Model trainer and the author of a new book about PCM, she hoped I’d have some insight. Her question;
“I get a lot of compliments each day, and there are some that mean more than others. Some people say, ‘Appreciate it,’ and others say, ‘Appreciate you.’ I’ve noticed that I definitely prefer ‘Appreciate you.’ It means so much more to me than ‘Appreciate it.’ How do you explain that?
The explanation has everything to do with personality differences in how people are motivated. We all have the same six personality types in us, but in a preferred, set order. Emily’s two strongest ones are Rebel and Harmonizer. The Rebel type is motivated by playful contact that is safe, fun and accepting. The Harmonizer type is motivated by recognition of person, caring about who you are, no strings attached. “Appreciate you,” nails them both!
Appreciate YOU people:
- Are generally caring, kind, and playful.
- Want to know you like and accept them for who they are.
- Do things for you as an expression of their compassion and human connection.
Appreciate IT people:
- Are generally organized, committed, and observant.
- Want to know you recognize the things they do.
- Do things for you as an expression of their responsibility and dedication.
Next time you want to show appreciation to someone, watch for the cues and offer what means the most to them. They’ll definitely appreciate YOU for IT.
Here’s a little fun fact. The main character in my book, Seeing People Through, is built around Emily’s personality. I did this partly because it gave me real-life examples, but mostly because Emily’s personality closely matches a lot of up-and-coming high-potential employees who are looking for a completely different type of work environment and relationship with leadership than their parents did.
Just yesterday I was going into a restaurant and was opening the door for my wife. I saw two male college students coming up the sidewalk just behind us, so I held the door for them. One of them enthusiastically thanked me with, “Hey, I appreciate you, man!”. The other one said, “I appreciate it.” Both were grateful, and each expressed it in their own way. Guess which one I preferred?
Showing Gratitude Is For The Giver And Receiver
Why did I bring back this post? Because it deals with a dynamic I experience every day and is extremely relevant to how we approach leadership, culture, and well-being. This time I wanted to reframe the concept in the context of gratitude, which we all know is good for us.
This Harvard Business Review article outlines some of the many benefits of gratitude. Here are some highlights.
Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish experiences, deal better with adversity, and build stronger relationships. So it’s good for the giver.
Gratitude expressed towards others benefits the receiver as well. Managers who thank their employees may find that those employees work harder. In a Warton study, university employees who were given a pep talk and thanked for their efforts made 50% more fundraising calls the following week than those who were not shown gratitude. We get more of what we pay attention to.
How Do You Show Gratitude?
This Fall Emily started her clinical internship, the final step of her Masters in Clinical Psychology. She continues to be curious about how people tick and how to support human flourishing. She is even more tuned into the power of the employee-supervisor relationship and notices how important it is to be grateful and to show appreciation for others. Being a student of individual differences, she knows that how you say it is often as important as what you say.
Expressing gratitude matters. How you say it matters. What are you doing today to express gratitude and appreciation to your employees, peers, family, athletes, students, and anyone else with whom you journey every day to make a difference in the world?