How powerful are the words “thank you”?


Bob Sutton, Stanford professor and author of “Good Boss, Bad Boss”, covers an interesting study on the power of “thank you”:

The simple act of having a boss come by and offer a public thanks to one group, and but not the other, really packed a wallop.  These fundraisers were paid a fixed salary, so Grant and Gino compared the number of phone calls made be each fundraiser before and after the “thank you” intervention.  The results were pretty impressive, as while there was no change in the average number of calls made by the group that was not offered thanks, the folks who heard a warm two sentence thank you from a boss made an average of about 50% more calls during the subsequent week.

Gratitude is very powerful. Not only does it predict the above but in other posts we’ve seen that it is has important affects on happiness and improving relationships. On the flip side, prior posts have also shown why materialism is linked with unhappiness and a lack of self-esteem.

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