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Appreciation, Thank You & Attila The Hun

Great Job!

If you tell a Hun he is doing a good job when he isn’t, he will not listen long and, worse, will not believe praise when it is justified – Attila the Hun

A client recently told me that a supervisor had asked if she needed anything to help accomplish her job. She said, “no, but every once in a while it would be nice to hear thank you and receive a little recognition for doing good work.”

Her supervisor told her, “We don’t say ‘thank you’ or ‘good job’ because it demotivates staff and makes them complacent.”


I worked with some of the most hard-nosed SOB’s the Canadian Army ever produced. When they gave you an “atta boy” it was a great day.

I remember working so hard on a patrol that even the insides of my eyelids were sweating. Everything was running like clockwork. My section accomplished our mission and returned to HQ to brief the bosses.

My Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) was in the briefing and never once broke his stony expression. The look on his face could have scared the snakes off of Medusa’s head. I had no idea what was in store for me. But, after the briefing, the RSM took me aside and said “nice work.” It was a terrific feeling.

People want and need recognition beyond their compensation package. No one deserves to be taken for granted. Some people need their ego stroked, some need a quiet touch on the shoulder, and some need to be publicly honoured. Just be careful not to give platitudes.

Even Attila The Hun had it figured out.

Click here to read more about trust and motivation

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hugh Culver

    So true! It’s almost weird how we have defaulted to mechanical feedback (like performance reviews), when people are craving for immediate, real, human feedback.

    1. Viki

      And I thought I was the sensible one. Thanks for setting me strgiaht.

  2. Bonnie

    My bosses never gave you a word when you did a good job, just critism when it was wrong. I asked one of my bosses why and she said “when you do a good job, you know it, so there is no reason to tell you.” REALLY???? I would have worked twice as hard if I had been given a kind word.

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