How to Motivate your Team Using Two Simple Words

Why do so many bosses or managers find it so hard to say “thank you” for a job well done?

I’m sure most of us have — at some point in our working lives – worked for a boss who was incapable of recognizing our efforts at work. Telling you off or reprimanding you for something you did wrong always came easier to them. I know I have had many bosses who are experts in that department!

So why is it that some bosses don’t know how to say thank you for a job well done – or at least for trying to do a good job? Well, some just don’t understand what being a “good manager” is and some are just unable to express themselves using the right words. What is clear is that both are missing out on a fantastic motivational tool – one that is easy and free!

Yes, it is true that employees receive a salary – at least in most cases – in order to carry out their daily job functions. However, does that mean we can´t thank them every now and then for a job well done? Let’s face it, there are employees who do their jobs badly, those who do them well and then there are those who do an excellent job. Managers have to recognize these different attitudes and re-enforce the positive ones so that they are repeated.

If managers offer no recognition for positive attitudes and actions shown by their employees, the likely scenario is that the employees will eventually stop carrying out those actions. Why? Because if the action is not recognized, they will think; “Why bother?  No one appreciates it anyway.”  

I can certainly sympathize with employees whose work and efforts aren’t recognized. In one of my previous jobs, a new Managing Director was appointed and although initial intentions seemed positive – he organized a meeting for all manager and directors and explained that he would meet with each of us individually so that we could make a presentation on what our role was within the company – his true personality and management style soon began to show. After six months in his new role this “seasoned” executive had not taken the time to speak to me let alone offer recognition for the work I did! I don’t even think he knew what I did. (Just so you know, I was an Associate Director in the company in charge of several areas such as Human Resources). The result? I felt de-motivated and this affected my output and energy levels.

You have to remember that it is not all about results. It is really important that you recognize good attitude in the workplace too. It’s possible that just showing a good attitude does not lead to immediate good results but there is no doubt that the end result will be positive for both the company and the employee.

So, apart from good attitude, what else can you recognize and reward your employees for? Well here are just a few ideas:

  • Teamwork
  • Risk taking and making important decisions
  • Showing initiative
  • Staying late after work
  • Taking on extra tasks and duties
  • Helping colleagues
  • Going out of their way to help a customer


A quick word of warning; don’t go overboard and start dishing out “thank you’s” without proper justification. That first time you congratulate a member of your team for a job well done is highly cherished by them – don’t spoil it by making it a routine. It has to be unexpected; that’s what makes it so special.

So what are you waiting for? Find an employee who is doing a good job and just go up to them and offer a sincere “thank you” for a job well done. You’ll be amazed at the results.

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