31 Aug Does Saying Thank You Make A Difference In The Workplace?
Have you ever felt underappreciated at work? Have you ever thought it would have been nice to have a thank you? Turning it around, have you ever not thanked someone for a contribution then regretted it later?
You are not alone. A new report in the Harvard Business Review explores the direct link between decreasing gratitude and power. It is quite humbling to acknowledge that researchers have recently found that people in power show less gratitude than those who aren’t. It’s not surprising then that in an earlier survey 59% of participants said they have never had a boss who truly appreciates them.
There is a quote from Maya Angelou that Heather often quotes: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Receiving a genuine thank you from someone boosts our mood, kicks in those positive hormones, and can even be long-lasting. Another survey reported in the HBR article suggests employees are more likely to stay longer if they feel appreciated. That is the key – receiving a thank you makes us “feel appreciated”. We are left with that feeling long after the moment of those two words.
As Heather says, “Words can heal worlds”, and by showing your gratitude and appreciation to someone after a difficult period at work can make a huge difference. Saying thank you shows we appreciate their contribution and boosts their self esteem, and identity within an organisation.
It is vital that anyone who holds a position of leadership endeavours to be a role model of gratitude, to go against this troubling research. By setting the example of saying thank you, a leader establishes a positive culture of gratitude and appreciation. At a time when many people are continuing to struggle with the upheavals and the effects of the past two years, this appreciative culture can make a huge difference. Words can heal worlds.
Saying thank you is such a simple act and two such simple words yet when we are busy, working to deadlines, managing stresses and unexpected events, we can forget. Saying thank you is a genuine thoughtful connection with another person and those words and the action of gratitude and appreciation could be the key to making that person’s day, and making their world better.
Three tips to make your thank you even more powerful
- Make sure you add specificity to your thank you – “thank you for staying late and doing that report, I realise you didn’t have to and that you are conscientious”
- Make sure you notice the little things that others may take for granted – “thank you for your attention to detail, I know it is one of your strengths and I really need that from you”
- Make sure you pay attention to the one in the office who are simply quietly going about their business – we often take them a little for granted