Anytime you say “thank you” to one of your co-workers or employees for his or her help, you are expressing gratitude. When you take a moment to recognize a job well done, you’re practicing gratitude. Even when you reflect on how fortunate you are to have a job, you’re showing gratitude.
Why say "thank you"?
It takes just a couple of minutes out of your day, but the results of an expression of gratitude last far longer for you and the recipient. Case in point: Last year, Google studied its employees’ biggest motivators. What the company found was surprising.
The No. 1 thing Google employees value most is not increased compensation or stock, but recognition delivered in a personal, genuine way. The company’s engineers said they especially value peer-to-peer recognition.
As Yum! Brands CEO David Novak says, “Why be selfish [with] the one thing that matters most to people?”
Here are three easy ways you can express gratitude at work today:
1. Catch your co-workers doing something right
We’re pretty good at catching people doing things wrong, but we don’t always put the same energy into catching people doing something right. Be on the lookout for your co-workers doing great things, and then point them out in a very clear, specific way. With this positive feedback, your co-worker knows you’re sincere, and he or she can replicate the success.
2. Celebrate small wins
Take your employees or co-workers out to lunch or coffee or even take a walk together and recognize them for a job well done. Identify and acknowledge achievements at staff meetings.
Actually ask your co-workers, “How did you accomplish that win?” and “What was it about your preparation and effort that got you that far?” Celebrate, and let your co-workers know their win, however small, didn’t go unnoticed.
3. Make someone's day
Everyone appreciates a genuine thank you. Make it a point to end conversations or encounters you have during your day with a thank you, when appropriate. Look your co-workers in the eyes, offer a warm smile and say “thank you”—let them know you mean it. You’ll be able to sense their appreciation, and who knows, maybe they’ll take a cue from you and share gratitude.
So what will you do to let someone know you appreciate them today? This week? Will you catch someone doing something right? Will you celebrate a co-worker’s small win by treating him or her to a cup of coffee? Or will you aim to make someone’s day brighter by offering a sincere thank you?
Whichever you do, chances are, when you express your appreciation for the positive others bring to your life, you’ll discover the effects of gratitude go far beyond a simple smile.
Margaret H. Greenberg and Senia Maymin, are organizational consultants and executive coaches, and authors of Profit from the Positive: Proven Leadership Strategies to Boost Productivity and Transform Your Business. For more information about Senia and Margaret, go to ProfitFromThePositive.com.