Be a Seed for Change at Work

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We’ve commonly been taught that it is good manners to say “Please” and “Thank you.” However, studies show that the place we are least likely to hear these words (or say them) is at work. Is it because people feel that they don’t need to thank someone for doing something they get paid for? Is it just part of their job? Yet showing appreciation and saying “Thank you” to colleagues has many benefits. Research shows expressions of gratitude and appreciation build trust and increase the likelihood that people will help each other. It gives people a sense of self-worth and self-efficacy. But it gets even more interesting – consistent experiences of gratitude not only increase happiness and life satisfaction, it also increases resilience to stress!! Could anybody use a little of that at their work?

So here are a few suggestions to get you started. Even if your current work situation does not include much appreciation, behaviors are contagious. You can be the catalyst, the seed that starts a shift. Aim for quality, not quantity. Your gratitude should be authentic and specific. Tell the person the details of what they did and why you are grateful. It’s even more appreciated if you can tell them in front of their boss. Also, make a point of thanking those people who never get thanked. Who are the people behind the scenes that rarely get recognized for making sure things get done? Finally, even when things are stressful and people’s moods are low, finding something to appreciate and voicing it to others can have a positive impact on morale.

So don’t wait for a change in policies, programs or leadership. Let the change start with you. Your colleagues will thank you!

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