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IM #2: 🙏🏾 The power of a good Thank You

2 min read reading time

Welcome to the 2nd issue of The Incomplete Manager, a weekly newsletter by me, Farai Madzima, with a focus on making badass people managers. I'm glad you're here. If this newsletter was forwarded to you, you need your own: Subscribe here.

Hey People manager,

I once heard someone say, “Why should I thank someone for doing their job? They’re getting paid, aren’t they?”

No friend, a salary is not a show of appreciation. It’s the fulfillment of a contract. And as you know, sometimes that’s not enough to keep people on your team.

You may have read Sheila Heen and Doug Stone’s book called “Thanks for the Feedback”. It changed the way I deal with feedback and appreciation.

Feedback isn’t just one thing. Heen and Stone say that feedback comes in three flavors:

Appreciation: Recognizing someone’s work and effort

Coaching: Helping someone get better at what they do

Evaluation: Comparing someone’s performance to a pre-agreed standard

I was raised to understand that showing appreciation was the “polite thing to do”. Maybe it’s the same in your culture.

What I didn’t know was that when you show appreciation to people who report to you for tasks they complete, you send the signal that you see them and you value their work and effort.

Appreciation boosts a feeling of belonging in others. You’re reminding them that what they do matters to the team and the company. And according to Daniel Coyle, people work better together and stay on teams longer when they feel like they belong.

Here’s something unexpected about appreciation that I got from Heen and Stone’s book: people become more receptive to your Coaching and Evaluation feedback if you’ve shown Appreciation. Conversely, they become more resistant if you’ve never shown appreciation.

And don’t try to squeeze in some appreciation at the last minute just before you need to give tough feedback. They’ll smell the inauthenticity right away and you’ll lose their trust.

5 ways to show appreciation this week.


I know, we’re grown and this sounds like a dumb thing to share with grown folks.

But if you’re like me, you may have fallen into the habit of sending a quick 🙏🏾 👍🏾 to say thanks.

Emoji are bare minimum effort.

And you and I, we’re not bare minimum effort people. We show up to show care, and when it comes to appreciation that means we say things like:

  • Thank you for your hard work on [specific task/project].
  • I appreciate the effort you put into [specific task/project].
  • Your dedication to [specific task/project] is inspiring.
  • I want to thank you for going above and beyond on [specific task/project].
  • Your contributions to the team have not gone unnoticed. Thank you.

++ Bonus points if you’ve ever asked them in a 1:1 whether they prefer public or private messages of appreciation. The right message, delivered in the right place at the right time? That’s dope people management.

Now, go be a badass people manager.

Thanks for reading this far.

Thanks for your kindness and generosity.

Stay awesome. See you next week.


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