Project Practitioners > Give Thanks

Give Thanks

By Chris Cook, PMP

READ TIME: 5 minutes


My sister was in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. We rarely see each other as we live 2,000 miles apart, so her presence is always welcomed. Over the four days, we toured the city, explored microbreweries, and stuffed our faces with Thanksgiving treats.

During the dinner, we took the time to share some things we are thankful for, including friends, family, pets, and so on. None of the items listed were physical things exchanged. Thanks revolved around the experiences we have with others.

Her children driving her crazy yet loving them more than anything in the world, pets waking us early for no reason, but we cannot see our lives without them, and of course family supporting each of our future goals.

A project manager can say the same things about their team. Without them and their support, there is no success or project. There is no one to lead if a team is not formed. Thanks and appreciation are important to people, especially those you lead.

The holidays are a cliché time to show appreciation, so remember to do so often and directly.


Say Thank You

Two simple words ‘thank you’ go a long way. An act as simple as holding the door for someone should be followed up with a ‘thank you.’ Someone sends an update that preempted a meeting. Tell him or her ‘thank you’ for being proactive and saving time.

Not only saying the words ‘thank you’ but also meaning it. During a project, project managers can get caught up in the bevy of tasks in front of them. They do not consider such simple acts as important while a steel beam is getting installed during a highway closure. However, those little things add up over time.

A person’s job can be an assumption. Of course, they have their estimate in on time and the next day scheduled because that is their job. Sometimes, it is nice to hear a ‘thank you’ for doing your job well. While you are expected to perform for the money you are paid, ‘thank you’ can be the bonus from the project manager you are looking for.


Write It By Hand

For clients, a handwritten thank you note goes a long way. Nowadays, email and texting are popular ways to communicate. They are quick and efficient but not personal. A better way to show appreciation for a client is to write a thank you note.

Take the extra five minutes to sit down with a pen and paper. Your kindergarten printing is better than the fanciest font and stationary combination. You want a way to separate yourself from the others.

Other companies are sending impersonal chocolate baskets by the dozens with prepared notes by an unknown computer. You send the same gift basket along with a handwritten note shows you care that much more. Even with the same gift, that handwritten note shows your appreciation.



Acknowledge Publicly

Whenever a team member deserves recognition, acknowledge publicly. Criticism is reserved for private, one-on-one conversations. However, praise and reward should be delivered in front of a group. Let others know you appreciate their work.

This public acknowledgment makes you look like a great leader and lets others know you are paying attention to that extra effort. Not only do you see the effort but also you are encouraging it. This plays well with your team.

At every meeting, make sure to point out the positive aspects of the project. Sometimes, a project manager can always be looking for ways to improve without recognizing the improvements. No one wants to keep changing and improving on the sly. Eventually, someone wants some credit for the strides they have made.



Thanks and appreciation are typically reserved for the holidays. It is a time of giving and selflessness but make it common. Show appreciation by saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who has helped you along the way. Some day, those people may not be around anymore.

A personal, handwritten note goes much farther than a text or email note. Our inboxes get flooded every day with a note from someone. Rarely does someone receive a handwritten note. Not only are you separating yourself from the group by doing that, but also showing your appreciation by taking that time.

Once all of the personal appreciation is shown, it is time to show the group how much you appreciate their effort. Publicly acknowledge the hard work going into the project. Highlight an individual at a meeting. Be loud and proud with your praise. Giving it often does not dilute fact.

After all, people are thankful for the experiences they have had, not necessarily the physical aspects of the job. Be someone they remember for the better. Show appreciation.

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