Gratitude Practice for Project Managers: 3 Reasons to Thank Your Team

Gratitude tag cloud

At one time, LinkedIn endorsements were little more than a way to publicly pad your friend’s resume — “you write me a positive endorsement, and I’ll do the same for you”. Remove the quid pro quo, and they become a very generative way to produce public identity for someone you respect, trust, or appreciate.PMBOK_Process_Matrix-JE2 endorsement

Screen shot of LinkedIn recommendation request

LinkedIn: Would you like to write a recommendation?

The Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge describes five (5) Process Groups and ten (10) Knowledge Areas critical to run any project. The PMBOK® Guide is a superset of what’s needed to run any project — by all means, use the framework to build software, a house, or the Space Shuttle. As a superset, it disappoints me there is no closing activity in the Closing Process Group and Project Human Resources Knowledge Area, so I added my own:

PM Process Group and Knowledge Area Mapping - from the PMBOK Guide

Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., 2013, Page 423. 
PMBOK is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Beyond a Retrospective, Transition to Operations,  Lessons Learned, and the usual close-out activities, I express gratitude to my team members by endorsing them on LinkedIn. Why?

1. Acknowledge their Achievements

A reflection about them, for them, that belongs to them:

  • Their contribution to the organization, its mission, the project, and their team members
  • If they conquered a personal or professional challenge
  • Their novel solution to the problem
  • Where they created choice or freedom

I discourage exaggeration in either extreme, but grounded assessments help experts to hone their craft.


2. Contribute to their Public Identity

If published, the recommendation you made in the public square contributes to their perception by the public. Your good will toward them precedes you both.


3. Your Gift is in the Giving

I include a message like this with each endorsements:

I appreciated your contribution to our project, and wanted to share this endorsement. Please do not feel obligated to publish it or reciprocate. If there are edits you would like, I’m happy to make them.


Some suggestions when expressing your thanks:

  • Timely: I aim to complete within two weeks of their departure
  • Keep them Succinct: After three periods, start editing
  • Be Thoughtful: Illustrates your understanding of the entire person
  • Make Grounded Assessments: Don’t under/overstate work. Call out specific examples where appropriate


We would like to hear from you: how do you express your gratitude to your team members? Connect with us on Twitter, or send us an email.

Share Now