The Gift of Gratitude – A Missing Conversation?

What Is Your Language Producing?

Applauding the success of your team is a powerful way to boost morale and engagement. Yet most organizations today don’t have leaders taking enough time to pause, savor success, and simply say, “Thank you.” It’s constantly rated the number one “missing conversation” with my clients across all industries. As we approach the final days of 2018, it’s worth paying attention to which conversations got skipped this year, and what may be getting in the way of great performance. How could your culture shift by spending more time paying attention to what your discussions are creating? Is gratitude one of your missing conversations?

1) Missing Conversations: What are the conversations we are simply not having?

The real secret to top teams lies not in implementing a new process, but in getting people to hold one another accountable to the process. As a leader, you do this through your words – your tool of choice is a powerful conversation. And, I don’t mean only investigating what’s going wrong; the crucial, difficult or fierce conversations (all best-selling books, by the way). Who looks forward to those conversations, anyway? However, if we re-frame those tough conversations to simply conversations we are not having, for any number of reasons, it can be something we look forward to leading. Try this re-frame: What are the discussions that simply aren’t happening within the organization? What possibilities could open up if they did?

2) Required Conversations: What should we all consistently be saying ?

Once your team can identify missing conversations, help them identify what should be said in a consistent manner across the organization. Messages that need to regularly be communicated to direct reports, peers, and stakeholders are often a special kind of missing conversation. Some spots to identify required conversations often include on-boarding, performance reviews, or celebrating success. What messages need to continually and consistently be communicated across your organization?

3) Prohibited Conversations: What should we all consistently be declining?

If your team is embodying a mood of peace or ambition, by all means, keep doing what you’ve always done. However, if there are places where you observe integrity outages, you may want to invite your team to identify prohibited conversations, and how they could improve the health of the team. Do the real conversations happen at the water cooler instead of the conference room? Does gossip plague moral and the overall well-being of your team? If so, gracefully demonstrating how to decline being part of a destructive conversation is a good place to begin. That may sound like this:

“Bob, I can see you are upset with Sally, that must be difficult. And, I’m going to decline being a part of this conversation and invite you to speak directly with her. And if Sally speaks with me on this topic, I’ll invite her to do the same.”