While training a group of senior vice presidents who had the desire to improve their Executive Presence, we studied the topic of workplace warmth for improved results. The vice presidents’ main goal was to properly utilize communication to ensure team members were producing their maximum output.

I asked these vice presidents what they thought the most effective way to increase productivity was, they replied with answers such as contests, improved incentives, systems of organization to disperse communications, and group exercises. These were all great opportunities for growth and we gained deep insights on each.

But I told them there was one thing that could be implemented immediately, which took practically no effort, and would have a dramatic impact on workplace cohesiveness and responsiveness. Two very powerful yet overlooked words…Thank you.

The power of thank you is immeasurable. It has the power to turn a raging argument between co-workers into a peaceful settlement. Thank you can transform an infuriated customer into a docile little lamb. Thank you can get your team members to come in on their Saturdays (yes it’s really that powerful). “Thank you” is positively amazing, but the lack of its proper and frequent use is astounding.

You’ve heard it time and time again. Be grateful for all of the positive things in your life, including your family, your job, your health, your friendships, and we’re even given the advice to look at the most negative situations in a positive light. There is always an opportunity to learn from them and gratitude attracts more great things into your life.

But do we really need to be thankful for our employees? Aren’t their huge salaries, exquisite health benefits, and lengthy vacation time enough? I think we can all agree that we should at least show a little gratitude towards them. But it’s quite unfortunate that we hear hollow “thank yous” all too often. How do we transform a meaningless phrase to empowering praise?

I have broken down the thank you formula into 3 parts. Use it liberally and teach it to your employees too, you’ll quickly empower and inspire people in their own lives as well! Here are three steps to a thank you that will make people go above and beyond for you without even asking:

1) Give thanks when someone performs an action that goes beyond his or her normal responsibilities, especially when someone goes out of his or her way to get something done. An example would be “Hey Susan, I wanted to personally thank you for digging down the other day and teaching the new recruit about our systems. Training isn’t your responsibility, but you still made an effort that helped get him up to speed. He is performing with flying colors now, thanks to you!”

2) Make it clear how valuable their actions or deed was. With regards to the above example, you might add something like “I know you’re one of the highest performers in terms of the numbers and you pride yourself on your ability to maintain that standard. So, to take time out of your daily routine which makes you so successful, to help out someone else, that speaks volumes about your character, Susan. We have started to perform at a higher level as an organization because of your hard work.”

3) Express how their actions affected you and what those actions mean to you: “Because you helped him out, I was able to focus on hitting my deadline and I know the boss will love the report we put together. When I present it to him, you’re going to be the first person I credit to my success. Without you, this would have been impossible! You rock Susan!”

Imagine how often someone receives a genuine compliment like that, NEVER! Master this formula and use it as often as possible. Not only is it going to raise your executive presence, but also help you surely be the new Star leader at your organization.