It’s that time of year when we celebrate the holidays and pause to give thanks to those in our world, personally and professionally. How can we show our appreciation effectively? Verbalizing and demonstrating appreciation are the most inexpensive but richest expressions of gratitude we can experience. Workplace gratitude can lift individuals out of the mindset of judging and criticizing.
Take a moment and make a list of people to reach out to—colleagues, peers, teams, vendors, teachers and mentors. Consider some of these ideas:
One of the easiest (and rarest) ways to show appreciation is to say, “Thank you. I appreciate what you did and how you contributed your unique skill or perspective to achieve our goal.” It’s a seemingly simple act with a surprisingly profound impact. A personalized handwritten note (or even an email if colleagues are remote), acknowledging and celebrating a person and their contribution, is not only cherished in the moment but often kept and revisited.
Hold an appreciation event
To express gratitude to a team, organize all-employee (or “department-wide”) fun. Learning events can be powerfully engaging and rewarding. I recommend incorporating these events quarterly at a minimum, but this can depend on your location and team size. These events can range from two hours to an annual one- or two-day celebration. Together, people learn, have fun and work together—a significant demonstration of appreciating and investing in colleagues.
In the realm of thoughtful gestures, gift-giving has endless opportunities. Gifts can range from coffee mugs and cozy blankets to shirts and gift cards from well-loved destinations such as Starbucks, Target, etc.
Volunteer to support others
The team can unite and bond by contributing to their community as volunteers for a non-profit organization. Creating goodwill together is a powerful gift that takes your staff/team out of their usual environment. They are on a learning journey!
Positive learning sessions
Facilitate sessions to foster a positive work environment. These sessions will instill self-motivation so your team will want to contribute and share ideas. During these meetings, your team will discuss opportunities, envision a future together, support each other and celebrate accomplishments. Monthly lunch-and-learn sessions are a great way to develop a healthy culture and workplace.
Take a moment to pause and consider who helps and supports you. Is there anyone you have taken for granted? Practice showing workplace gratitude. Put in the extra effort to show your appreciation to others—today and always.
CAUTION: I do not encourage Employee of the Month/Year awards. In short, these build internal competition and rank people. They are “management fads” and don’t foster collaboration.
Marcia Daszko is a strategic management consultant, workshop/meeting facilitator, MBA professor and professional speaker. Her bestselling leadership transformation book is “Pivot Disrupt Transform: How Leaders Beat the Odds and Survive.” You can reach her at email@example.com.
Read more about creating a positive organizational culture.