Superfluous gratitude will be required training, of course.
If you managed to read my Thanks Giving post, then you may have wondered to yourself, “How do people get so good at thanking other people?” Is it a trait that comes naturally to born leaders, or an instinctive animal behavior, like humming to inspid elevator music or eating donuts until we can feel the dough and lard coming out the top of our throat?
I've done some investigation and determined that it is actually a formal part of management training. Big companies realize that they are supposed to make employees feel wanted and appreciated. An important part of this process is thanking the employees profusely for anything they may or may not have done, because, as one management manual put it, "A thanked employee is an appreciative employee." And thanks is cheaper than cash. This management technique is so ingrained in corporate behavior that companies usually have courses around it, such as these:
CORP MT-1002-18 Making Employees Feel Wanted and Appreciated
Your employees work hard for you, and you want to make sure to do everything you can to keep them doing so, especially since manacles and whips are no longer alllowed in the workplace. This course teaches how to make employees feel like you appreciate their efforts, even when you don't know who they are or what they do.
This is a prerequisite for course MT-1002-19
CORP MT-1002-19 Gratuitous Gratitude
One of the most important tools at a manager's disposal is thanking their employees. There is no better way to make an employee feel like their efforts have not been a complete waste of their lives, yet this technique costs the company nothing! It only takes a little bit of your time, and you can even use automated programs (taught in this course) to send out the emails for you. Sending email works wonders for assuaging guilt over long working hours and the gradual disintegration of family life. Occasional hallway conversations can also make employees feel good (although fraternizing too much with employees is not recommended).
This is a prerequisite for course MT-1005-01
CORP MT-1005-01 Getting Promoted to Executive
Congratulations, you've made the big time! Something you have done in your career has merited catapulting to this awesome layer of management. Maybe you complimented an executive on a speech, or proposed a product vision that you heard about in some meeting, or brought a cappuccino to the CEO when she was feeling poorly. Whatever - it doesn't matter! Now you get to kick back and relax until they fire your butt in some internal political fracas that's certain to happen in the next year or two. But don't worry – executives earn way more money in an exit package than they do actually showing up to the office every day!
But in the meantime, you need to use all of the management skills that you acquired on your way up the ladder. Thank those below you (don't worry – we'll show you how to hire and thank people to do this for you) and suck up to those above; it's worked so far, and it'll keep on doing so.
You may be lucky enough to have classes like these offered at your company, but many people currently learn to do it on their own. When I am King, these courses will be offered as required curriculum starting at the the grade-school level. It's never too early to start sucking up and patronizing people.
In the meantime, keep thanking your employees and getting thanked by those more important than you. It might seem silly at first, but you'll thank me later.