In this weekly series, our friends at MBA Career Coaches will be dispensing invaluable advice to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews.
So, this blog post should seem self-explanatory, right? We all express gratitude, don’t we? Well, not really. Yes, most of us know to say “thank you” when someone opens the door or lets us borrow their stapler or whatever happens in normal office interactions. But, saying the words “thanks” and expressing gratitude are two different things. Thanks is a word and gratitude is a gesture.
Let’s say that your supervisor takes time to include you in a meeting that you would not otherwise have been invited to and let’s say that the meeting was a great learning experience for you. And, let’s also say that you truly are appreciative of that gesture. A mere “Thanks” can obviously work, but you are far better off showing appropriate gratitude so that he knows it was meaningful.
How do you show that gratitude? You elaborate and make sure you get your supervisor’s attention by revealing your takeaway: “Hey Brian, thanks a lot for inviting me to that meeting. I think you know that I haven’t been to a strategic planning session yet and it was an eye opener for me. I was really impressed by how the team used analytics to drive decisions.” This simple but far more elaborate “thanks” is way better than “Great meeting – thanks for having me!” It shows your supervisor that he wins when he exposes you to something new – that you are appreciative and that you learn. By showing gratitude, you put him on notice that there are rewards for him by including you. You are actually giving him feedback and affirmation that are incredibly valuable to both of you.