Chester Elton is the #1 bestselling author of the books, All In, The Carrot Principle, and The Best Team Wins, which have sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide. A member of our 100 Coaches organization, and one of today’s most influential voices in the leadership field, this week Chester asks us to “raise our hands if we feel over-appreciated” at work or at home. Are you raising your hand?
Below is an excerpt from our interview.
Marshall: I’m here with my great friend, Chester Elton a wonderful guy and one of our 100 coaches. He’s sold over 1.5 million books, he’s an expert on leadership, culture, he’s received Global Guru recognition in these fields, and he is also a guy who knows a lot about appreciation. Chester, give us a couple of quick insights on the value of appreciation.
Chester: Well, it’s interesting, Marshall. As we studied great cultures, great teams, great leaders, those that were always at the top of the charts understood appreciation. They understood saying “Thank you.”
In the coaching world, you say, “Look, I want your feedback and I’m going to thank you for it.” You’ve got to be humble. Well, what we looked at in our research, and this is, by the way, a database of 850,000 engagement surveys, is those leaders that appreciated the day-to-day work, not just the big things, but the day-to-day, random acts of kindness, had higher engagement for their people. They had lower turnover, and higher productivity. Those two simple words, “Thank you,” have an incredible impact.
I know you’re a big believer in these words, Marshall. How does saying thank you make a leader better, do you think, Marshall?
Marshall: I teach something called feedforward. In feedforward, you ask for ideas. You treat the idea like a gift. If someone gives you a gift, you shouldn’t say, “Stinky gift. I don’t like your gift.” You should say, “thank you.” Never promise to do everything people suggest, but thank them for caring and trying.
Chester: Exactly, that’s the foundation. We adopted a symbol like our carrot. We say, “Look, you can never have too many carrots.” It’s interesting because people will say, “Well, you can do it too much. You can overdo it,” and of course that’s never true.
How many people do you know in their lives who say, “I’m over-appreciated”? That really is the key. If you can get a leader to appreciate what other people do and get in the habit of saying thank you, boy, it just makes the whole culture, the whole environment better.
Marshall: I love it. Thank you!
I just turned 70 on March 20! Thanks to so many people for helping me have a great life!