A powerful way to express appreciation starts with two simple words, “Thank you.” Following this up by describing the “why” makes your statement even more meaningful and impactful.

What you say or don’t say makes a difference.

As previously shared, communication is a delicate dance between the messenger and receiver. If you’re someone who loves to lead or manage others, your words, actions, and behaviors convey what’s important to you. Yet, to empower others to grow and learn, it’s what you ask, hear, and respond to that inspires them to trust their instincts.

Instilling confidence and boosting self-esteem in others is a beautiful way to display gratitude. The tricky part is not to let your limiting beliefs, self-doubt, or fears impact other people’s approaches or decisions. To help guide you, here are six ways to keep your communication in check.

Celebrate the under-celebrated.

Recognize ingenuity, attentiveness (aka not multi-tasking), and active listening as necessities for collaborating, problem-solving, and resolving conflict. Be bold and encourage others to be brave by saying “I got you” and “I have your back” and exhibit your commitment through ongoing support and actions. Then acknowledge steps in the right direction, no matter how small, by sharing, “I know you’ve been working to change X, and I noticed a difference in yesterday’s meeting when you did Y instead of X.”

Use questions to stir dialogue.

Listening more begins with asking thoughtful questions where you’re motivated to hear the answer. Here are some techniques to get you started.

Invite possibility.

Ask an open-ended question, like “What do you think?” or “How do you think we should proceed” or “What could be another way?” to provide space and opportunity for individuals to share their ideas and perspectives. When you listen to understand, not judge, you give yourself the chance to think differently, too.

Make space for reflection.

A special gift we can give another person is a trusted ear and a safe environment to express themselves. Allowing others the chance to share what they have thought and felt in any given situation fosters self-learning and showcases genuine kindness and compassion.

Focus on the facts.

If you’re working through a challenging topic with others, use the 5Ws – who, what, when, where, and why, plus H for how, to assess situations objectively. To add even more perspective, try out the Myers-Briggs Zig-Zag® process to tap into all four mental functions for well-rounded decision-making.

Explore further.

Provoke thoughts and ideas by adding “And” to apply different solutions to various scenarios. For example, “How can we maintain stakeholder excellence and reduce costs?” or “How can we take more vacation time and work more effectively?”

Be silent.

Sometimes by staying quiet, we can inspire introspection. A sincere nod or simple hand gesture implying “I’m interested, please continue” grants the other person time to reflect and go deeper.

Appreciation does not need to be grandiose.

To activate your best, live the attitude of gratitude and take these simple steps to appreciate and recognize others. Get to know yourself better through the Enneagram, MBTI®, and FIRO® assessments and apply your insight to improve your communication, manage your career, handle stress, and make effective decisions. If you are interested in a self-led course, watch this two-minute video to learn more and reach out to me to show you the behind-the-scenes.

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