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Submitted by BJ_Marshall on


I thought it would be interesting to share some of the kind things we do. I enjoyed the 'cast on One Kind Thing, and I realized that it wouldn't take much effort to get appreciably better at this. Since I like canvassing for ideas, I thought this would be the ideal place.

So I'll start: When I'm picking up my stuff at the printer, and someone else has a print-out just sitting there, I'll deliver it instead of just taking my own.


jhack's picture

Get coffee for a direct.

Raid the marketing closet and get tchotchkes for someone or everyone.


AManagerTool's picture

Fix home pc's after work for people for free.

jhack is right...corporate swag RULES. Squishie balls for everyone!

Buy somebody random!

ctomasi's picture

Take a break with someone (or everyone) to the break room and buy the sodas, coffee, etc.

If you go out to lunch with one or more people, do the driving. I know I'd appreciate it if someone did that for me with gas prices the way they are.

steven_martin's picture

Flowers have always worked for me, but I have yet to give them to another guy.

WillDuke's picture
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I gave everyone a big red heart box of chocolates one year at Valentine's day. Even the guys. :)

jhack's picture

Sweet! :wink:


wendii's picture
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I told my temp about the perfect job for her, sold her to the hiring managers every opportunity I got, and coached on how to get it... and she did!

Now I'm short a right arm.. but I feel good!


BJ_Marshall's picture
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I want to give an epilogue on my one nice thing.

I am absolutely amazed at the responses I'm getting when I knock on someone's cubicle, and they turn around to see me handing them a printout that just happened to be sitting on the printer when my job finished. People say something like, "Wow, great - thanks!", which seems like a lot of gratitude for such a small act.

I'm going to look for more nice things to do.


MsSunshine's picture

I do something that the specific person really likes.

For example, last Halloween, I "booed" some of the guys with dark chocolate. (The idea is you put a picture of a ghost and a small bag of candy with a note to pass it on.) This was for a group of real chocolate fanatics.

At the holidays, I gave three people who were tremendous support for me during a hard year a small gift that was personal to something I had learned about them. The look on their faces was worth all the effort to figure it out. One was a special liquor. Another was a book in an area they liked. The third was a little statue.

I give some people who always volunteer to "fish sit" my gold fish tank at work some special candy from where my trip was to in miniature gold fish bowls.

Every now and then I just make cookies or brownies or something for the team meeting or put them outside my door and send out a broadcast invitation.

I brought lilacs in a vase to a co-worker who commented on how they smelled but she didn't have any.

ctomasi's picture

When one of our directs comes from our Malaysia office, we get them a gift. The two coming next week will receive a company shirt. Future visits might include a pack of playing cards with local pictures, a coffee mug of some significance - just something to remember the trip.

HMac's picture

Ice cream sundaes for everybody on the team. That's hard to beat. Other times, I'll buy one of those Big Boxes of coffee at Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts on the way in.

akinsgre's picture

I have a direct who has talked about wanting to get some exercise.

Today we went to the mall at lunch to walk for an hour.

mukamal's picture
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I do a few things. I'm only in the office with the rest of the team once or twice a week. Usually, I'll bring cookies, chips, or brownies to the team. I just put them on the table among all the cubes.

I will take folks out to lunch on the days I'm in the office as well. I won't let them pay because I'm [i]taking[/i] them out to lunch.

I have also found that a thank you note or card for someone who has done a great job goes a long way. You are committing your thanks to pen and paper versus verbal, IM, or email.

I get each person I work with, my directs and below, a holiday gift based on their interests or personality. It is very difficult to do with 20+ folks when you're on a budget and it takes me a long time. On the other hand, nothing says you have a real relationship than being able to get a meaningful gift for someone.


refbruce's picture

Brought back some chocolate from a trip to Europe -- and made sure to send some in interoffice mail to the directs who were located at a remote site. It was a huge clue-in about how left out of things they often felt.

drh524's picture

This podcast really resonated with me. When I was a dept head on my last ship (retired Coast Guard officer) we had an incident in which one of the junior enlisted ladies was possibly molested while she slept.

The JO on watch didn't want to wake the CO and XO so he didn't report it until the morning.

The CO was furious and called all officers into the wardroom and while doing everything he could to control his rage, he told us that he didn't need us to run the ship, that the enlisted crew could do that with their eyes closed. So, our only job on the ship was to take care of the crew and that if we couldn't do that he'd transfer us off his ship and see to it that we never supervised anyone in the Coast Guard again.

I always felt like it was my responsibility to help anyone that worked for me and that sure drove it home.

HMac's picture


There's real wisdom in your story. Even though the circumstances that prompted your CO's comments were terrible, the story is worth sharing because there's a great perspective that applies directly to managers everywhere.

He's right: our job IS "to take care of the crew."

For the purpose of advancing our organization's health and mission, our job is to take care of the crew. Challenge / Communicate / Praise / Correct / Coach / Help them up the organization, and sometimes help them out of the organization...

Great post - thanks for sharing it.


ctomasi's picture

I agree with HMac. That's a simple, but effective way to remember what Managers do. As I work from Manager to Director, I'm going to keep that tidbit of information handy. Thank you.

Flood's picture

Hi all,

There have been some great comments on here for managers giving thanks to directs - but what about the other way around?

How do you give thanks to your boss without coming off as a brown nose? (obviously sincerity helps a lot)...

Great cast as usual Mark & Mike!

jhack's picture

How about a sincere statement of appreciation for the boss, specifying why ("you helped me develop that xyz skill that earned me a promotion" or "you respect my opinions on this project").


HMac's picture

...and put that sincere statement jhack suggests in a handwritten note. It's a killer.


corinag's picture

On thing I did for the past 10 years is to always bring something back from my holidays and business trips. Nothing expensive, but it always showed my directs and some colleagues that they were thought of and their efforts in holding the fort while I was gone were appreciated.

Sweets are big (normally local favorites - such as Turkish Delight when I came from Turkey - not your standard duty free Godivas), small souvenirs such as funny key chains, interesting mugs etc. Coasters are a favorite at my office, normally ceramic with the local motif, again if the destination country is known for this kind of thing. In our culture it is also appropriate to bring liquor or wine, this normally if the person is interested in local flavors that are hard to find in your country (e.g one of my bosses was a cocktail enthusiasts, forever looking for new recipes and ingredients, the best thing for him was to bring him some interesting Polish Vodka or Mexican tequila and he'd be overjoyed. Another big thing (we're mostly women) is handmade soap, if the country where we traveled has such a tradition...

Other things that I've given and got include: funny hair accessories, natural fibers placemats, fridge magnets. The key is for them to be quirky, or unusual, or sweet, but in all cases appropriate for the person getting them, and always accompanied by a message.

I can't tell you how exciting it is to get back to the office and give gifts and see how people rejoice. And the gifts never break the bank, either.

mdave's picture

The joys of smaller town living... I often will cut out newpaper articles and pictures involving staff and especially thier families -- the honor role, school plays, wedding announcements, school sports. They are great to send to grandma as well as relatives and friends who do not live nearby.

boukman's picture
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My directs do a great job of listening. When they hear I have a Dinner Party they send me recipes from the web. If I've worked out too much they send me the name and number of their massage therapist. Links to whatever topic or need we're discussing come regularly. Come to think of it, these people are great. I need to go thank them once again for being a team with me.

angelicdoctor's picture

Today was a holiday in Manila but not in the U.S.  Remote employee was following U.S. holidays and wasn't sure if he could take the day of to observe those in his home country.  I said we'll take it on as they come and then gave him the rest of the day off anyway.

NLewis's picture

During the Superbowl I set up a set of Superbowl Squares for the entire company.  It's not a terrific amount of money and everyone gets to enjoy competing against each other.  The VP liked the idea so much he's started doing the same thing for March Madness.

jenny.hassler's picture
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I stock a snack table during our month-end close (coffee, healthy & unhealthy snacks) and send an email reminding my staff how much I appreciate their efforts to get everything done on a tight deadline.

This one thing has made month-end less stressful for my staff.