This time of year, thankfulness and gratitude are top of mind. While we’re preparing to celebrate and give thanks outside the workspace, it’s also a good time to think about our gratitude practices at work. Are we taking the time to properly thank our team members, not just during the holiday season, but all year long?
If you’re not making a point to thank your teammates, you should be. Thanking people improves morale, builds your relationship with them, and helps them feel more satisfied with their jobs. Being thankful increases productivity, helps you get better results, and promotes a healthy culture. And it’s good for you too – studies show that grateful people are healthier, more resilient, better at managing stress, and less likely to experience negative emotions like resentment and envy.
To express your gratitude in the most effective way, try these tips.
Just saying “thanks” is nice, but it’s even better if you’re specific about the actions and results you’re grateful for. What exactly did they do, and why did it help you? For example, “Thank you for walking me through that new software. I feel a lot more confident about using it now, and I can see how it’s going to make me more efficient.” It makes a much bigger impact, and as a bonus, reinforces the behavior you liked.
Some people get a rush from being thanked in front of the rest of the team. Some would rather be thanked in a one-on-one conversation. Some enjoy a written thanks in an email or handwritten note more than an in-person conversation. Your goal is to recognize them, so you should do it in the way they prefer.
If someone is taking on more than their share of office chores, consistently taking on the tasks no one else wants to do, or in some other way taking on a burden they shouldn’t have to, saying thanks may not be enough. Show your gratitude by taking that burden off their shoulders – for example, creating (and enforcing) an office chores rotation so that person doesn’t have to keep doing it all on their own.
Be supportive of your coworker by telling their boss or supervisor when they’ve done something really great. The compliment makes them feel appreciated, and it’s even more impactful when they know that their boss is aware of it.
Next time one of your team members does something you appreciate, try these strategies out – you may be surprised by the positive effects!