Workplace Wisdom

Have You Expressed Your Gratitude for Your Colleagues?

Most people like Thanksgiving for its relative lack of commercialism and its inclusivity. It’s all about food, friends, and family — an opportunity to be together in some semblance of comfort and caring. In many homes, the people gathered around the table talk about what they’re grateful for.

Now that the leftovers are almost gone, and you’re back to work, you can extend the holiday’s good feelings into your work week. Maybe not the food. But if you haven’t ever considered the things you might be grateful for at work, let me get you started:

  • Being able to provide valuable products or services to customers who appreciate them
  • Having a place to go where they actually count on you
  • Having something to do where you actually know what you’re doing
  • And maybe most of all, having good colleagues.

It’s All About Us

When I’m working with new client groups, I often ask them why they stay in their jobs, and what’s good about their workplace. Almost without fail, the answer is “the people.”

Even when you’re unhappy with your boss, or feel you’re not paid enough, or just not getting the corporate support you need to progress and be your best, you’ve got work friends and trusted colleagues around you. That includes everyone from the woman at the cash register in the cafeteria, the guy who delivers the mail, and the peers you commiserate with, to the exec who holds you to the highest standard.

Of course you feel connected to the people who give you new ideas, rally when the project is in the eleventh hour, or tell you when you’re doing something ineffective so you can fix it. They’re glad to see you every Monday and wish you a great weekend every Friday. They encourage you when you’re down and tell you how great you did when you did. They’re the ones who care whether you participate with them, too, the ones you have confidence in, who, as Gallup suggests, will stick by you “during times of stress and challenge.”

Thank Them for Being a Friend

Here’s the question: Have you told these important coworkers what they mean to you? Are they aware that they make a difference to your ability to get the job done, and to your sense of wellbeing? I’m sure they’d like to know.

So take them out for coffee, write a note, or just mention it as you’re gathering up your folders and laptops after a meeting. “I really appreciate the way I can count on you during these tough presentations.” “I’m so grateful we can work on these complicated problems together.” “Thank you for being there when I get concerned about how to proceed — it really makes a difference and gives me a little peace of mind.”

Not only can you bring a greater feeling of fulfillment into your work life by actually recognizing what’s good for you about the experience, but you can also bring some more fulfillment into the work life of others by telling them what they’ve contributed to your work and wellbeing. A virtuous cycle all around!

Onward and upward,

LK

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