Thank you. Two words, eight letters, that can make so much difference. From a young age we are taught to say thank you, for example, when someone does something nice for us or in response to a compliment we may have received. The art of gracefully thanking someone is as valuable in the workplace as it is in social settings, with benefits for both the giver and the receiver of gratitude.
Try making an effort to show appreciation in the following situations.
1. Saying thank you in acknowledgement of others
In the workplace there are so many ways to thank people for their efforts. These can include significant company-sponsored gestures such as:
- a bonus, pay rise or reward,
- an award or recognition, such as employee of the year,
- a company conference or work trip,
- a dinner, lunch or after-work drinks.
On a smaller scale, a workplace thank you can consist of:
- a text, email or shout-out during a team meeting
- an invitation to coffee or a bite to eat.
As long as it is genuine, in context and timely, an expression of gratitude will be appreciated.
Research has shown that a well-timed thank you will not only increase loyalty from, and the engagement of, the person receiving the thank you but also of those who hear it. Saying thank you causes a ripple effect.
Who do you need to thank? Who has gone over and above, completed a big project or simply been kind and helpful to a teammate?
2. Saying thank you in acknowledgment of the present
Don’t forget that you are also deserving of thanks! Thanking yourself is essentially about being grateful. In the words of writer and teacher Ernest Holmes, ‘Where the mind goes, the energy flows’. This notion is similar to the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, the frequency illusion and the bias phenomenon. Simply, the more you focus on something, the more you will see it or feel it. We have all been in the situation when we decide to buy a new car and, suddenly, we notice this model of car everywhere we go. The same phenomenon occurs when we focus on our life and environmental circumstances. If we concentrate on what is not working, on how poorly we have been treated or on the mistakes that we have made, then that is what we will find and see more of.
Alternatively, if you focus on what is working, on the opportunities you have around you and on how lucky you are, this is the good fortune you will find your life filled with. I read an experiment by a writer who began a habit of acknowledging his wife and family in his journal every day. At the end of the year, he said he felt more in love with his wife and family than ever because every day he woke up thinking about how wonderful they were, rather than complaining about them.
What do you have to be grateful for in life or work? What is going well for you?
3. Saying thank you when you are acknowledged
One of the biggest missed opportunities for ‘thank you’ is when you are given a compliment. Too often when we are complimented, instead of graciously saying “thank you” to the giver we fill the air with minimising comments: ‘Oh, it was nothing’, ‘It was the team’, ‘What, this old thing?’ Learn the art of acceptance and of saying thank you when praised. Acknowledge and celebrate compliments when they are given – don’t brush them away.
The next time you are complimented or acknowledged for a deed well done, don’t minimise it. Just say ‘thank you’.