In the spirit of Canadian Thanksgiving, this post is dedicated to all my lovely clients who help me grow and learn right along with them!
A young leader whom I’d been working with on career exploration just landed a job offer (hurrah!). She wanted to talk about strategies for her upcoming first days and early weeks in her new role that she would be starting in a few weeks time. She also wanted to explore ideas to make sure she completed her current role with the utmost of grace and goodwill. She’d been with this company for 12 years and was parting on very good terms.
So when started to talk about getting ready for her first days/weeks on the job I shared the idea of doing a Listening Tour. I wrote about leadership Listening Tours in the Globe and Mail sometime ago and I often encourage leaders to do this, especially when they are new to an organization or role.
Talking about leadership Listening Tours sparked for me another idea that I thought might be helpful for planning her last days/weeks in her current role. After we discussed (the obvious) essential must-do’s related to ensuring your projects were either completed and/or set up for successful turn-over to others, I asked her:
How about doing a Gratitude Tour before you leave?
Whaaat?? What’s that? Never heard of it, she said, tell me more. Well, to tell the truth, I’d actually never heard of this either but the idea came to me and it just seemed to make a lot of sense.
You see, when leaving a role, you may be leaving a job and an organization, but your reputation and the impression people have on you will last far beyond this role. What better way to make a more lasting positive impression than with an authentic appreciation and acknowledgment to those who have had a positive impact on you and your career?
People remember things like that – sometimes even more than the specific tasks and responsibilities accomplished. Often when people leave jobs they hope and expect that they themselves will be acknowledged (assuming they’ve done great work and maintained good relationships). Here’s an opportunity to reverse that and let others know what you appreciated in them and the positive impact they had on you.
Thanking others benefits the giver and the receiver. Don’t take my word for it, science is all over this and research has proven the powerful benefits of expressing and experiencing gratitude. Gratitude is known to be one of the most powerful ways to add purpose, meaning, and gratification to one’s life and work experience
Expressing thanks in a meaningful way is also one of the most human things you can do to create better relationships, better cultures, and boost engagement in one’s work (and life) experience.
Well of course, gratitude isn’t just for when you are leaving a job, it’s an everyday, year-round habit. But what might this look like in practise when you leave a role for another job?
What might this look like in practise when you leave a role for another job?
There are many ways this could play out. Here are just a few thought-starters:
- Identify the people that have made a difference to you and/or the work you are involved in: Take some to think about the people whom you worked with who made a difference to you and/or the work. Consider direct reports, supervisors, peers, clients, suppliers, etc. Reflect on the difference they made (make); the contributions; the working relationship – and anything else that mattered to you.
- Reach out and try to connect with each person individually: Ideally if you can connect face-to-face or by phone, that can be more meaningful (remember those devices? Phones are used for talking too, not just text:). If you can’t connect in real time, then indeed a note via email or text is an alternative. A group email is nice but a Gratitude Tour can take a written note further and provide more of a personal connection.
- Be authentic in your acknowledgment: This is hugely important. This has to come from an authentic place. Do not fake appreciation. Make sure you share genuine acknowledgments otherwise this will be seen as insincere.
- Share a few words about why you are appreciative of them: Try not to be too vague. Instead, share an anecdote (that time you did this___ for me); or a character trait of theirs that made a difference to you (you were always generous with your help); or simply acknowledge their consistent, and overall support and how that impact you positively.
Authentic Gratitude and Positivity Has a Ripple Effect!
If you do this authentically, people may likely be quite touched. You might even be surprised and receive some acknowledgment in return. The goodwill you show can reciprocate years down the road. You never know when you’ll meet up again with your colleagues. Worth emphasizing, your relationships, reputation can last far beyond any given role.
A SHOUT-OUT TO LEADERS AND ALL CAREERISTS: GRATITUDE ISN’T ONLY FOR WHEN YOU LEAVE A ROLE!
Does this idea only work when you leave a job? Oh gosh, no!!!
Gratitude is so powerful (when done meaningfully and authentically) that it should be cultivated as a habit to use regularly and in all facets of your work and life.
Whether or not you formally do a ‘tour’ depends of course on your situation and context. Either way, expressing gratitude is crucial for leaders to build relationships and engagement.
Whatever way makes sense for you, find ways and opportunities to acknowledge others and give thanks. It will do both you and the receivers some powerful good.
Always more to talk about when it comes to such a rich topic (see here for more in “The Whys and Ways of Gratitude”). But for now, it’s Thanksgiving season in Canada. I want to thank you my reader for your attention, interest and for taking time to read this. Please do share this if you think others would enjoy.
ONE MORE THING….
PSSST….Something’s Coming – Are you a leader or aspiring leader? Curious to learn more about how to lead authentically and to make a difference? Learn the ins and outs of leadership; and get some fabulous leadership development learning in an affordable way? I’m working on something for you. Want to be first to hear more when I am ready to share the details? Get on my Priority List now. Check it out here.
Eileen Chadnick (@Chadnick) is a certified coach specializing in career, executive and leadership development and a communications pro (20+ years of experience). Principal of Big Cheese Coaching and Chadnick Communications in Toronto, Eileen draws from the disciplines of positivity, neuroscience, emotional intelligence – and Conversational Intelligence®(C‐IQ®) in her work as a coach, consultant, trusted advisor, and facilitator. In addition to authoring the book, Ease: Manage Overwhelm in Times of Crazy Busy, Eileen is also a contributing leadership and careers columnist with the Globe and Mail