Thanksgiving is right around the corner and as we enter the holidays, I thought it would be a good time to talk about gratitude. Workplace gratitude.
Each year when my family sits around the Thanksgiving table, we take the time to reflect and tell each other why we are grateful. Everyone that is invited to dinner knows that when it is their turn, they are expected to express gratitude towards whatever is important to them that particular year. Sometimes the statement of gratitude reveals personal growth.
People are less likely to express gratitude at work than any place else, according to a survey of 2,000 Americans by the John Templeton Foundation. So why don’t we do this more in the workplace? Are we too busy, too entitled, or just too competitive to step back and reflect on the value having employment and opportunity? It isn’t clear if this is an American phenomena or if it the lack of workplace gratitude is found in other parts of the world.
I believe that workplace gratitude, like personal gratitude, is truly the path to establishing strong relationships. I recently had a client CEO that died unexpectedly who joined every status call by thanking the team for the work that was completed in the previous week. He used to call me at random times, at least once a month, to discuss business and he never neglected to tell me just how much the Red Javelin team meant to him. I could be on deadline or stressed to the max but when I received his call it would make me smile and my stress would melt away. His gratitude made us feel valued and it was a wonderful foundation for a good working relationship. I will miss him.
Five Ways to Give Thanks in the Workplace
- Be sincere – If you are going to thank someone, be sincere. Take a minute to reflect and tell your coworker, client, boss, employee, or customer why you are grateful. If possible be specific about a particular project or task where there were difficulties that were overcome or a job well done.
- Acknowledge that your success depends on others – There is no I in team. Almost every function in the workplace requires you to trust and rely on others. Being open and transparent breaks down barriers.
- Thank the people that never are thanked – Recognize all the people that help you succeed even the ones that never seem to shine. The work environment can be intimidating and some voices can get lost.
- Celebrate Small Wins – Every milestone your team hits brings greater success to you and the company. Celebrating small wins help keep the team spirit alive.
- Make someone’s day – Have you ever seen a coworker just having a bad day? It may be something at home or a meeting that just didn’t go as well as expected. Tell them how much you appreciate them and watch their stress melt away.
Expressing gratitude is a feel good experience for everyone. It increases our sense of optimism, enthusiasm, and creates a sense of well-being that increases our willingness to be helpful to others.
To all my colleagues, clients, and partners, I thank you for your hard work, dedication and your friendship. Enjoy your holiday!