Give Thanks

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant – Max de Pree.

My theme for 2017 is to be Engaged, Unhindered and Inspired (E, U & I). This theme has driven my strategy, tactics, and execution so far. One of the activities penned to improve engagement was “Giving Thanks”. Simply put, every manager should find at least one reason to say thank you to each member of his team, before the end of his daily bit.

I thought this was a piece of cake, but I have never been more wrong. In fact, this has been the most challenging part of “E, U & I”.

From Day 1, I have received a deluge of questions and never shirked from providing answers.

Question: What if the employee was a total schmuck from start to end? Answer: At least the employee came to work. He showed up, that’s something. Have you had to deal with a no-show? It is far more frustrating than a present schmuck.
Question: What if it seems fake? Answer: No one ever got good at something without being subpar at the start.
Question: Are thank yous not supposed to follow results? Answer: Define the results required for a thank you on a situational basis.
Question: Does anybody tell me thank you even when I burst my behind? Answer: Thank you for the feedback. I will improve.
Question: Is saying thank you part of my job? Answer: Yes and, what’s more, it is part of your life. You need it more than the one you are saying thanks to.
Question: Should I be thanking someone for doing a job he is paid to do? Answer: No job is ever fully paid for, as the time spent is priceless.
Question: What do I get back for following through on saying thank you? Answer: More reasons to be thankful and if you’re lucky, a smile.

Many more questions have been offered than action, bringing to the fore, the painful reality of thanklessness and maybe, masked entitlement.

Thanksgiving is mostly reactive. An expectation is usually met before gratitude is triggered. The challenge therefore is with the individual that sets the expectation. While some can give thanks for a new day, others dismiss same as part of the entitlement of being human. While some give thanks for the love of family, others wonder why their parents didn’t make more money. While some give thanks for being citizens of a country, others wonder why they were not born in a different territory.

There is a lot to be thankful for and if you can’t find one, train your eyes in recognizing the gifts offered in the present. Read more, travel more, care more.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures – Thorton Wilder.

Thanksgiving is antifragile – the more thanks we give, the more we have to be thankful for, in spite of the vagaries of life. 

This has triggered my 2018 theme which is not yet fully formed – Commitment, Care and Courage. This theme will be deliberately designed to foster thanksgiving.

Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not the merits of who receives them – Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

Give thanks.

– Osasu Oviawe

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