I was raised to write handwritten thank you notes after every Christmas and birthday. I exchanged snail mail letters with my grandparents all throughout my childhood, and with friends who moved away. While most of my snail mail has been replaced by email and texting, there is still nothing quite like receiving a handwritten note.
One of the best things I’ve ever seen implemented by a leader is the idea of writing notes of gratitude and appreciation. In our monthly management meetings, my amazing boss brings a stack of district notecards and envelopes. These notecards change annually along with our theme for the year. The last 5 minutes of each meeting is dedicated to writing notes. Imagine an entire room of leaders quietly writing handwritten notes that will be delivered through district mail, or dropped off in front of someone’s spot at the end of the meeting. I get just as much joy out of writing these messages as I do when I receive one. It is so nice to take an intentional moment to pause, think of someone you work with, and consider how you might thank them.
I make it a point to keep a list of the people I have written notes to during the year, so that I reach as many as possible, and so I don’t forget! Sometimes the occasion comes up naturally, for instance after one of my staff members completes a project or does a presentation. Other times I am seeking a way to connect with an individual and I go out of my way to find something to notice and appreciate. Similar to the gratitude circle activity, these notes can be a bridge to deepen a relationship. As we move into the second half of the school year, and a new calendar year, I am committed to writing more notes of gratitude and appreciation.
Thank you for reminding me of the importance and impact of this practice! I love it, too!
AndrÃ©e Grey, Ed.D.
Pingback: How gentle was January? | Reflections on Leadership and Learning