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What’s the Opposite of Saying “Thanks?”

by Derek Irvine

Recognize This! – Deep, meaningful connections are created when we become vulnerable to express our appreciation to others and humbly receive it, too.

We are returned from WorkHuman inspired, invigorated, and energized for developing this movement to create and support workplaces where we can bring our whole selves to work, support each other in achieving our best work, and honor our very humanity in how we approach work and life together.

As I shared in the kick-off of WorkHuman, we’ve spent the last several millennia trying to beat the humanity out of work. And that reality is born out in less than 50% of attendees believing they are in a human-focused work culture today.

Now is our opportunity to change that. Now is the time to instill pride, meaning and ownership in what we do. We cannot wait any longer to address these real, human needs. The modern workplace is ready for this.

Indeed, the modern workforce is impatiently waiting for this. We moved from the “muscle” needed in the industrial era to the “mind” needed during the knowledge worker era. But that leaves out the heart – the engine that makes us human.

It’s time to address the heart. Part of the needs of the heart are in forming deep, meaningful connections with others.

To me, this was one of the most beneficial outcomes of WorkHuman – the connections made and deepened with others equally passionate about creating more human workplaces. In discussions with attendees during breaks and meals, we chatted about the Power of Thanks and how important it is to both hear and say those words.

Eric Mosley, Globoforce’s CEO, spoke at length about the emotional commitment to giving thanks and appreciation to someone, as well as receiving it. But what’s the opposite of “thanks?” The Opposite of “Thanks” The opposite of saying “thanks” is not “No, thanks.” The opposite of “thanks” is also not “constructive criticism.” The opposite of saying “thanks” is saying nothing at all. It’s having the opportunity to communicate to someone how much they and their efforts are appreciated and valued, but choosing not to.

Good intentions for saying thanks (“Susie did a great job on that project. I need to remember to thank her for that later.”) are also dangerous. Planning to recognize others means the action just falls down the to-do list. Saying nothing when thanks are deserved is like carbon monoxide seeping through your home. What’s unseen and unheard can be deadly to your culture.

Thank you to all of the planners, creators, presenters, contributors and participants at WorkHuman.

Your choice to, together, create something new, something special, something unique has resulted in something truly transformative for us all. “Thanks” are necessary. “Thanks” are deserved. “Thanks” are powerful.

What is the most powerful “Thanks” you’ve received? Who do you need to thank today?