Common courtesy seems to be like Elvis and has left the building. The days of hearing and maybe even saying “please” and “thank you” seem to be part of a bygone era. Yet, these are two of the most powerful words in the English language. They can change someone’s day if delivered in a meaningful way. As leaders, reviving common courtesy is paramount to set the standard of expectation and behavior.
Growing up in my household, if you didn’t say please when you asked for something, my parents would come back with “what do you say?”. Proper manners in my house was not optional, it was required. Because of that, I raised my child the same way. These days, it seems that please is optional and rarely used. In my experience, it seems to be a dying art. When people want something it is more of a demand, rather than a request and “please” is no where to be found. The majority of the people I worked for rarely said please. Mostly, it was do this, do that and by this time. A “please” with true intent would go a long way to creating an environment where people feel valued and appreciated.
Along with “please”, “thank you” can encourage results in people. Personally, getting a heartfelt “thank you” for something I’ve done, can go a long way. Heartfelt is the key word here. Some people will throw it out there as an after thought and it can do more harm than good. A valid “thank you” needs to include “what”. Think about these two examples:
“Thank you so much for completing that project on time. You have made a difference to our client.”
Which do you think is more powerful? The second more tells the person what you appreciated! Not just an off-handed “thanks” with no meat. My favorite stores to shop understand the and embrace the power of “thank you”. Recently, as I completed my purchase, the person at the counter stopped and looked me right in the eye and said, “thank you so much for your business, we appreciate you”. Wow, I must admit I was in shock and awe . . . rendered me speechless. Ask my husband, that rarely happens! I just smiled and said “thank you”. Will this encourage me to go back? You bet.
Three simple words
Three simple words that when used effectively pack a powerful punch! Easy to say and yet, seldom used. It’s time to revive common courtesy and put “please” and “thank you” back into our vocabulary. Let people know that we appreciate and value them in their efforts. Here’s your challenge for the week.
Please focus your attention on getting back to the “please” and “thank you basics. Ask rather than demand, and when someone on your team meets or exceeds your expectations, please let them know. Thank you for taking the time to read this article! You are well on your way to reviving common courtesy!