Since Thanksgiving is this month, I have been thinking a lot about being thankful. One of the things that is important to me about Thanksgiving is that thankfulness shouldn’t be confined to a single day. I think a lot of people would agree with this perspective. In fact, around Thanksgiving every year, I hear people say that your thanks shouldn’t be limited to Thanksgiving. However, I doubt that many people actually put this into practice. Further, I think this happens even less in the workplace.
Research shows that being grateful is good for your emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Unfortunately, research also shows that gratitude does not often happen in the workplace. If the research says that gratitude is important and even improves workplace success, then why aren’t we more often grateful at work?
It can be hard or uncomfortable to tell the people that you work with that you appreciate them. Have you ever told your boss “thank you for what you do”? For some people, even thinking about that can be awkward. Further, gratitude speaks to a deeper relationship than mere work colleagues. That could be awkward for some people.
We’re getting paid.
Some of us think we shouldn’t say thank you to someone who is merely doing their job. What strikes me about this is that it doesn’t apply in other areas. When we are the consumer at a restaurant or a grocery store, we are appreciative of the people who are helping us. They are doing their job. They are getting paid. That doesn’t stop us from genuinely appreciating the help they provide. If we can be grateful in when we are consumers, why can’t we be appreciative with our colleagues?
How do we do it?
If these are the issues that commonly get in the way, what can we do to overcome them to foster gratitude in our workplaces?
Just Say It.
There is nothing too complicated about saying “thank you”. Look your coworker or employee in the eye and genuinely thank them for what they do. Thank them for their attitude. Thank them for their promptness. Thank for being dependable. Find something to thank them for.
Don’t quite have the courage to say it in person? Write them an e-mail.
Still too scared? I like to drop anonymous notes to people to say “thanks”. Sure, they don’t know who is appreciating them, but they don’t need to know for the gratitude to be felt. That’s the amazing truth about gratitude. You don’t need credit for your thankfulness for it to count. You will reap the benefits of appreciating your co-workers either way. AND, your co-workers will feel appreciated. Simply knowing that someone has been thankful for what they do can be huge. Honestly, I think this can be even more impactful at times because anyone could be the author of the note.
Make It a Habit.
If you consistently are thanking the people you work with, it will be less awkward to say thank you. Further, you give the other people you work with the freedom to say thank you as well. This creates a cycle of appreciation so that everyone benefits.
Here is a really great article I found that talks more about why gratefulness is important how to practice it. And, here is one other article about finding joy since gratitude and joy are closely related.
I would love to hear how you are or will be grateful at work! Let us know on social media what you thought about this article!