It goes without saying that 2020 has been a challenging year for CEOs and business owners. Around the holidays, we always share ideas for expressing gratitude to your clients and to your team, but this year it seems especially important – especially for your team.
Whether you choose to do it over Thanksgiving, through the holiday season, or through the beginning of the new year, it’s important to make a concerted effort to do it. With the stresses of 2020, felt by leaders and team members alike, a more personal touch may be in order.
Below is a sample email that one of our member CEOs sent to her team to express gratitude. This is a small business – 13 team members – so this approach might not apply to a larger corporation. That said, all team members appreciate hearing directly from their CEO at some level. This particular letter expresses three important elements:
- and gratitude
Each are equally important components when expressing sincere thanks to a team of people.
Good morning team –
I can’t believe Thanksgiving 2020 is already here. I feel like this year has almost been a blur. Maybe that’s a good thing.
I felt compelled to send this email this morning because I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you. How much I truly appreciate you…
Thinking back to the beginning of January 2020, I spent nearly a week in my office writing a strategic plan for the year on giant wall sticky notes. I reviewed 2019, looked for the areas we needed to improve and make changes coming into the new year. New initiatives, new services, growing – it was exciting!
Then, BAM. Early March brought nothing but uncertainty. As a business owner who cares deeply about my team, I was honestly scared. I had no idea what was going to happen. Worse, I had no control over what was going to happen. I tried to keep a strong face, but man, on the inside I was shaken.
As shutdowns came and rumors started about potential assistance available to businesses, I knew I had no time to sit back and wait to see what was going to happen. I got on every single webinar, read every single article, reached out to everyone I knew in the financial industry. I knew I needed to be on the front end of whatever assistance was going to hit the market. I can’t even begin to describe the sleepless nights, tears, and countless hours I put in to learning everything I could so that I was ready when the assistance gates opened.
It was a scary time – not knowing how this would impact our clients, and as a result, the business and cash flow. In my 21 years of business, I’ve never been as scared as I was through those months … March through July, really. I didn’t know how many I was going to have to layoff – I didn’t know if I was even going to be able to keep the doors open as this stupid pandemic kept dragging on. That’s a frightening proposition when your team is your family and your business is your livelihood. The only thing I knew that was in my personal power and control was being on the front end and arming myself with knowledge so I was ready to act when given the opportunity. So that’s what I did.
There’s a life lesson in there for all, but that’s another conversation. The bottom line is, it worked out. The business received some much needed assistance to get through and keep everyone employed. I’m so grateful for that. But that’s not what this email is about…
What I know for sure is that through the time I put into researching, studying, and preparing, the resulting exhausted energy made me less available to my team as a leader and a friend – both, mentally and emotionally. It’s been a rough year from that standpoint and I feel like, at some level, I let you down in areas that I never have before. At the same time, I was fighting for you and for the business behind the scenes with all my might. It’s stuff you couldn’t see, but I hope you felt it.
I’m not good at saying emotional things because I get way too teary-eyed when I try. So, I want to say thank you. You guys have single-handedly gotten us through this crazy year … with your commitment, your grace, your understanding, and your amazing work ethic. When you had questions, you asked – and I know I haven’t always had the answers – but you gave me grace to not know and you gave me your trust, which means everything to me.
Every year, I am grateful for my team. But this year has taken it to a new level.
You inspire me to always try to do better … for you.
How will you express gratitude to your team this season?
2020 gives you a perfect window to open up a little more than you might otherwise. Everyone has experienced new fears, new emotions, discovered new strengths, and persevered in their own way. It’s sets the stage for you to serve a new role through holiday season – Chief Gratitude Officer.
How will you step up?
If you’re ready to take your business and leadership skills to the next level, and if you think your business could benefit from more insights like what’s offered in this article, let’s start a conversation. LXCouncil may be the perfect next step!