Gratitude at work?

I got just this one photo snapped on our mid-day walk today before the batteries died. Can you see that the tree is busting out all over with white and light green shoots and blossoms? The weather rushes from rain to sunshine… back and forth, back and forth, moment to moment, morning to afternoon and on.

I need feedback on what I really want to write about today. Ask your friends, comment, send e-mails, whatever. Especially if you or anyone you know works in a corporate setting, but Mema you can even see this with the staff at Bishop’s Glen, I bet.

Here’s the question: How have you seen, experienced or expressed gratitude at work? What form did it take? And then what difference did it make? What were the results?

I’m giving a free lunchtime talk in Basel next Friday about Gratitude and most of the people will want to know how and why to apply it at work. In fact, maybe you could start the conversation in your workplace… how is gratitude expressed and received (or is there a real lack of gratitude and what are the consequences)?

I’ll share some examples of my own in the coming days, but would love to hear your stories! Please invite others to comment, too! A wide variety of industries from medicine to finance to education and beyond will be represented there, plus it might be interesting to see the patterns…

Thanks for playing!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. There was a survey recently, that tracked the attitudes of “What” motivated people at work…

    the survey was given to 2 kinds of people, employees and manegment.. I think they had 20 different kinds of things they could rank, as what motivates them (or what managment thought motivated workers)..

    overwhelmingly, managment thought money was the #1 thing that motivated people.. and that “verbal appriciation for hard work” was somewhere at the bottom of the list..

    however, for employees, the “verbal appriciation” was the #1 thing (meaningful work was #2), money was #7, this follows right along wit this idea that workplace gratitude is an important thing..

    the best manager I ever had, he had this gift of looking you in the eye, and with all the warmth in his heart, thanking you for a job well done, and hard work executed exceptionally well…

    he did not do it everyday, maybe once a month, but I remember every time.. he was a man who experienced tremendous emotion, and he kept it under tight wraps, but you would see it flash in his face when he spoke to you…

    it motivated the hell out of me.. I would have followed him if he told me my next project assingment was installing explosive gas tanks in the middle of hell…

    or paving highways in florida in the summer… (similar heat & dangerous work)…

    Lesson=Gratidue is something managment MUST give, with honesty & wholehearted appriciation (it cannot be fake), to employees who work hard, because it motivates the hell out of them..

  2. Andrew! That’s great. Where’s the survey from… do you know?

  3. As a manager I still have to go with the verbal thoughfulness. No doubt my gratitude at my work comes from the at-risk youth I come in contact with when they say something as simple as”Thank You”, simple words used too often today. Then a parent says “Your efforts helped us save our child’s life”. When someone takes the time to write a real letter these days it also moves me. The other level of gratitude is when people really go all out and acknowledge your contribution publicly, like when a group of friends and judges took the time to organize a “thank you”, going to the county & city commission and even had a day named for me and then threw a surprise dinner. It was so heartfelt,with real warmth and depth of appreciation. But the kids looking brighter, happier, healthier does it for me!

  4. Some folks are motivated by tangible things like money while others like the emotional, intangible things in work… I am the second category and find when I am sincerely, truly thanked for doing something that did inconvenience me briefly it makes me motivated, eager to replicate that behavior and pay more attention to the giver of the thanks. I have a male co-worker now who is a generally nice person. At certain times, when he is not bogged down in the mire and I have done something that truly improves his working situation and was relatively simple for me, he will sincerely thank me with kind words (loud enough for others to hear) and make eye contact with a pleasant smile. I feel so good about myself, good about my work and good about working with him, I pratically float on air.

    Sometimes I’ve even experienced gratitude for my work and hence, praised my boss for giving me the opportunity. I think when that is sincere it doesn’t come across as kiss-ass. It multiples it by giving it away.

    I had a long work experience (11 1/2 years at 33 years old so 1/3 of my life)and though obviously I didn’t always feel appreciated, there were enough quality folks to never let it get so far that I felt forgotten. You have to surprise your employees with gratitude periodically to keep them alive. It’s like watering a plant that only needs a bit here & there – a little goes a long way.

    I have found the times I am most frustrated with a job (or personal situation) is when no one thanks me or heck, notices my involvement. Maybe nothing changed but my attitude but one or two thanks would get me back on the positive path.

    To conclude – when I headed up planning our high school reunions, the most positive part of it was the thanks of the attendees as I knew they truly appreciated me facilitating the event. I truly had so much fun doing it I didn’t need their thanks, but it was like dessert after a great meal.

    JP / PV 88 / Florida

  5. This is great, Jennie! Thank you soooo much! In what industry do you work again? What do you do?

    I just love that you comment here! Thanks.

  6. My main experience is in finance (work hard, play hard mentality) – intense! My latest gig is being the office manager at a small law firm. These people make lawyers & paralegals look human – all hard working but good home/work balance and know how to laugh… Jennie

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