People with a positive attitude are more likely than their glum colleagues to be healthy, productive and at their creative best. Studies show that when we feel positive we are more able to learn, grow, collaborate and maximize our contributions.
A simple way to contribute to the development of a more positive and productive culture at work is to regularly thank your colleagues. To start the “thanks” flowing, consider these tips:
- Make at least two people happier. When you take the time to thank colleagues you may improve their day. Interestingly, when you leave them feeling more positive, you are likely to feel better as well. One of the best ways to improve your own attitude is to give somebody else a boost. And positivity tends to be contagious, so thanking a colleague can create a wave of positivity that flows beyond the two of you.
- Build a habit. Some people seem to be born with an inclination to say “thanks.” It is just part of their personality and the tendency is reinforced because it brings them joy. Many of us, however, don’t have the “thank you” habit. We expect good work from our colleagues and often move on to the next challenge without celebrating each small achievement. But saying thanks isn’t time consuming and the good feeling it brings can reaffirm best practices and make the next projects flow more smoothly. So if saying thanks isn’t your natural pattern, it is worth a little effort to create a new habit.
- Set a daily goal. Once you start looking, you’ll probably find many opportunities to say “thanks.” But to get the habit started, you might want to commit to a certain number of “thank you’s” every day. One leader decided that he wanted to express praise or appreciation to at least four of his team members each day. To keep track, every morning he built a stack of four quarters on the left side of his desk. When he thanked somebody, he would move a quarter to a new stack on the desk’s right side. He didn’t allow himself to leave the office for the day until all four quarters had been shifted to the right.
- Thank people for both the big and the small. The way you say “thanks” will vary with the occasion, of course. But the point is that it can be worth noting even small achievements, or contributions that typically are taken for granted. For example, think about saying thanks when somebody:
- Gives you a good idea. They’ll be more likely to brainstorm with you again if you share the credit when their suggestion works well.
- Always shows up. Sometimes we forget to thank the people who tend to be reliable. If there are people you always can count on, perhaps it is time to take them to lunch and let them know how much you appreciate what they do.
- Makes an introduction. If somebody helps you make a connection that turns out to be helpful, don’t forget to cycle back and say “thanks.”
- Write notes. A common practice is to send around an email message, offering praise and thanks, and cc-ing anybody who might be interested. But sometimes a more meaningful practice is to send a note in your own handwriting. It shows that you cared enough to pause and spend a little time and effort in expressing your appreciation.
- Thank your boss. Even if you are pretty good about thanking your peers and direct reports, you may feel reluctant to thank the people above you in the hierarchy. Most of us are reluctant to look like we’re currying favor. And nobody loves a suck-up. But it’s not sucking up if your boss deserves appreciation and your feelings are sincere. And consider the situation from their perspective. Many leaders make it to the top in part because they love praise and are driven to please others. But when they are higher in the organization there are few people above them to say “thanks” for a job well done. They may be getting the big bucks but still feeling deprived, missing the “thank you’s” that motivated them for so long.
In closing, I want to thank you for continuing to read this newsletter. And have a great Thanksgiving!
Want to learn more tips? Bev and her colleagues are available to provide coaching and create training sessions, workshops and retreats. Talk to Bev if you’re looking for ways to address topics related to your work life and other challenges and transitions. Meanwhile, check out Bev’s website at: Meanwhile, check out Bev’s website at www.ClearWaysConsulting.com.
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