How did you feel the last time someone truly thanked you?
Not just the mumbled thanks for holding the door or handing you a tissue: a true, heartfelt expression of gratitude.
Being thankful can help others and it can help us. Grateful people reported fewer aches and pains and were more likely to engage in healthy activities, according to a study published in Personality and Individual Differences.1 A separate study found that gratitude can lead to increased self-esteem and better relationships with team members and supervisors.2
In addition to the happiness boost that comes from focusing on the good things in your life, saying a simple “thank you” can also bring a huge boost to your career. Recognizing the contributions of your colleagues helps to build stronger, more dedicated teams, and leads your peers to look to you as a leader. Gratitude, like praise, can help to reinforce positive behaviors, leading to a culture of success within your team and organization. Gratitude is also a great way to “pay it forward,” building good will for those moments when you need others to help you achieve your goals or take a risk for you.
Expressing gratitude can also help you to build a professional network. Recent research has confirmed what we have all known for years—that saying “thank you” to a new acquaintance increases the likelihood that he or she will share contact information with you, helping you build your professional network (and make a new friend!).3
So how you can implement gratitude in your career? The first step is simply recognizing that business is a team sport. Has a supervisor taken time out of their day to answer your questions or train you for your next big move? Did a colleague stay late to help you meet a deadline? A sincere, heart-felt thanks can make someone’s day.
Ogilvy CommonHealth also offers a great way to say thank you through the You Earned It! program. This program was created to allow team members to reflect on the contributions necessary to achieve a great outcome and publicly recognize colleagues. According to Darlene Dobry, managing partner, the program has been tremendously successful across all units and skill centers. “It is great to see how infectious the program is. People reach out to thank others and the feeling spreads. It is particularly nice to see people reaching out across departments to thank people they don’t always have a chance to work with and building lasting collaborations.” So the next time a colleague does something great, send them some YEI points and your heartfelt thanks.
“Thank you” may be two simple words, but the recognition and appreciation encapsulated in that short phrase has the power to transform you, your colleagues, and your organization.
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1. Hill PL, Allemand M, Roberts BW. Examining the pathways between gratitude and self-rated physical health across adulthood. Pers Individ Dif. 2013;54(1):92-96.
2. Chen LH, Wu CH. Gratitude enhances change in athletes’ self-esteem: the moderating role of trust in coaches. J Appl Sport Psychol. 2014;26(3):349-362.
3. Williams LA, Bartlett MY. Warm thanks: gratitude expression facilitates social affiliation in new relationships via perceived warmth. Emotion. 2015;15(1):1-5.