One of my clients was frustrated because of perceived lack of gratitude. He had identified and made available some training for some employees that he felt would help them and his business. He paid them for their time, put them up in a nice Las Vegas hotel and was pleased with the quality of training they received. What he was not pleased with was a lack of a “thank you” afterwards and multiple comments of how inconvenient it was to be away from family.

He wondered: Is it because they are young? Is it because they were not raised properly? Is it because he did something or did not do something? He was thoroughly perplexed and asked my opinion.
I told him the story did not tell me much about his employees, but it did tell me a lot about him. Who knows what other people think or why they do the things they do. The only thing we have control over is how we think about things and how we respond. His story and his reaction to it told me is that love of learning and that expressions of appreciation are important to him.
Many things we do may not be noticed or appreciated. We need to ask ourselves if we did it because we wanted the thank you or for some other reason? For his situation there were clear benefits to his company to have better trained staff. What he was getting hung up on was the need for a thank you.
While we can hope that our efforts as leaders will be appreciated, they often will not be. The choice then is deciding if the response of others is more important than our response.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons Michael Mandiberg