Tell Her About It!

Nov 24, 2010 3 Comments by

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the States.  It’s a time to appreciate all of the great things we have and the wonderful people who surround us. Today’s post is about appreciating the people we work with.

I let the music randomly shuffle on my iPod as I went for a run the other day… and a fantastic song popped up that reminded me about how important it is to recognize the people who help make us successful.

Here are a few lines from Billy Joel’s “Tell Her About It” followed by my random thoughts on what the lyrics reminded me of regarding team recognition:

“Listen boy – I’m sure that you think you got it all under control. You don’t want somebody telling you the way to stay in someone’s soul.

You’re a big boy now – you’ll never let her go.  But that’s just the kind of thing she ought to know.

Tell her about it …”

Why Do I Have To? Sometimes as bosses or team members, we have a hard time listening to advice about appreciating people. Employees shouldn’t need to be reminded every day of how much they are contributing – all that effort is just part of doing their jobs, right? After all, working hard and getting along with people is so easy that it should come naturally and doesn’t need to be rewarded, right?


The best leaders and the best team players learn every day. The best individuals recognize that they cannot possibly know as much as their collective team knows about who’s contributing to the group’s success. They leverage all the eyes and ears of the entire team to their advantage – especially when it comes to recognition.

What Do I Thank Them For? One of my favorite questions to ask team members is: “Who’s been the most influential in helping you succeed?” If you ask everyone, invariably each team member will list 2-3 people as key contributors and pretty much everyone will have been mentioned by someone.  I collect these kudos and verbally shower them back on people.

“Listen boy – It’s not automatically a certain guarantee.
To insure yourself, you’ve got to provide communication constantly.

Tell her about it every day before you leave.
Pay her some attention. Give her something to believe.”

Who and When? Regular recognition is not a one-time thing.  It’s a daily way of working with people that generates positive emotions even when things are not going well.  It’s true that leaders need to give their people quantifiable business targets, but leaders also need to give employees emotional reinforcement as they work to ” hit the numbers”.

And let’s not forget that recognition is not just the Boss’s job!  We can each recognize those around us for all that they do to help us.  Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost anything – just look around, take stock of who’s helping you and Tell Them About It!

“Cause now and then she’ll get to worrying,
Just because you haven’t spoken for so long.

Though you may not have done anything,
Will that be a consolation when she’s gone?”

Remember When We Used to Worry About “Employee Retention”? Your best people generally know that they’re sharp and your competitors generally know this too.  It’s true that in these weird economic times, everyone has their resume up-to-date and keeps track of new opportunities just in case your company no longer has a place for them.  Appreciation is a free way to make sure that the best of the best on your team know that you have that place for them as long as the company stays in business!  But they may not know this unless you tell them about it.

Many great employees have left otherwise great positions in otherwise great companies primarily because they did not feel appreciated.  Don’t let that happen to you or your team. Show them some appreciation and tell them about it.

Listen boy – It’s good information from a man who’s made mistakes.  Just a word or two that she gets from you could be the difference that it makes.

Tell her about it…

So… Don’t forget to show a little love to those who have helped you be successful this past year…

It could be the key to having your next great year!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Question for Chatter:

  • Who or what are YOU thankful for right now?

Change Agent Skills, Change Execution, Change Leadership, Team Dynamics

About the author

I help people and teams succeed with big changes... never a dull moment!

3 Responses to “Tell Her About It!”

  1. theBigRocks Change Agent Tip #5: Celebrate Along the Way! says:

    […] Tell her About It! (Billy Joel’s advice on team recognition & appreciation) […]

  2. Steve says:

    Hey, Thanks Allan! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year – it makes us all appreciate the things that matter most… -Steve

  3. Allan Waugh says:

    Happy thanksgiving Steve – a great message and a good reminder to us all

    We dont celebrate thanksgiving in the UK, but I wish we did

    take care and enjoy

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