There’s no such thing as too many heartfelt thank-yous.

This principle has served me well, even though I’m not as good at it as I’d like to be. But it’s a habit that I’ve been trying to form as a manager, as a leader, and as a contributor to various groups.

But it’s not as simple as it sounds.

There’s that business about being honest and heartfelt. That means without having an agenda of any kind. No manipulation. No objective other than to strengthen the bond between us.

Manipulation can be a tricky thing, because we all know there are various ways to slip it in. I might try to slip in some advice or “helpful criticism.” I might want you to do something for me in the future.

So what does a thank-you sound like? The most powerful simply conveys that I recognize you did something for me, I appreciate that it improved my life, so I want to thank you for doing that.

Simple. Honest. Personal.

This is a much different concept than “appreciation” in the corporate context. That’s not personal, and there’s a sense of some manipulative intent behind it. I need to give you this gift because you’re my employee, I need to “motivate” you, and it’s about “employee retention.”

We’ll even “improve morale” because we recognized you in front of the group.

Now, there’s certainly a place for these kinds of programs, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not the heartfelt and honest thank-you which strengthens human bonds.

Who have you said thank you to today?