Monday, September 10, 2007

Build Community - Start simply with smiles and thanks

Good leaders build community. Building community is hard. However, it is easy to start quietly and simply with thanks and smiles.

In a recent post at Slow Leadership, Carmine Coyote wrote about The Power of Gratitude. The post suggest that gratitude is a "major constituent in the glue that holds together groups of all sizes, from a few friends to society as a whole."

This definition places gratitude, which generally starts out with a simple thank you, in a very exalted role. You might debate as to whether gratitude is more or less important than honesty, trust, or service in building community. However, we can immediately agree there is nothing easier than a simple "thank you."

Nothing easier than a simple thank you, except for a simple smile.

A Smile Costs Nothing,
but gives much.
It enriches those who receive
without making poorer those who give.
It takes but a moment
but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
None is so rich and mighty
that he can get along without it,
and none is so poor that he cannot
be made rich by it.

A Smile creates happiness in the home,
fosters goodwill in business,
and is the countersign of friendship.
A smile brings rest to the weary,
cheer to the discouraged,
sunshine to the sad,
and it is nature's best antidote for

Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen,
for it is something that is of no value to anyone
until it is
given away.

Some people are too tired to give you a smile,
Give them one of yours,
as none needs a smile so much
as he
who has no more to give.

(but believed based on the work of
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch)

The combination of thanks and smiles lays a very powerful foundation for great community. And it is so easy to start. As Tom Peters says,

It begets it.

Thanks begets thanks.

Smiles begets smiles

Thank for reading. Please lead quietly. Keep thanking, keep smiling. It's contagious.


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