The importance of thank you

People sometimes within their personal and professional lives can forget the importance of saying ‘thank you’.  To what extent do you have an attitude of gratitude? How good are you at saying thank you? Not only does this suggest a lack of politeness but as an employee it can be very demotivating. Also as a boss saying ‘thank you’ is one of the cheapest interventions around. It virtually costs nothing!

I have worked with a few clients where this has been problematic. Where leaders have thought saying thank you would show weakness, or make them appear too nice and where they have thought they would not be taken seriously. One leader in particular could only seem to focus on what wasn’t right rather than making those around them feel appreciated.

You see the impact of gratitude is greater than you think. Let’s break it down and see why having an attitude for gratitude holds more influence of importance than you might first initially be led to believe.

 Why an attitude for gratitude? 

1) Showing your gratitude creates higher job satisfaction

In an Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, ‘Research on gratitude and appreciation demonstrates that when employees feel valued, they have high job satisfaction, are willing to work longer hours, engage in productive relationships with co-workers and supervisors, are motivated to do their best, and work towards achieving the company’s goals. Google, which sits atop many best-places-to-work lists, fosters feelings of employee value through an open culture that promotes employee input, routinely rewards and recognizes performance, and encourages personal growth.’

Showing that you value your employees and by incorporating an appreciative culture means that your employees actually hold you in a higher regard, and have a greater respect for you. They feel a sense of loyalty and belonging. This then in turn fosters a strong workforce whom are prepared to go over and beyond what is expected.

Abraham Lincoln once made this quote of gratitude, “I am success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”

2) The importance of gratitude

 When your workplace culture adopts one of gratitude you maximise on performance and appreciation amongst your employees.

You can show you are grateful by giving opportunities to your employees such as opportunity for growth within their role, offer decision making opportunities, support the friendships within the workspace and the camaraderie amongst staff.

As an example of how to show your gratitude you can also simply thank those whom you appreciate for their efforts by simply saying those words. A little effort goes a long way and in return productivity and performance is likely to increase. As is the way your employees and colleagues feel about you and the company.

Without gratitude, you run the risk of people becoming demotivated. This in turn will lead to a higher turnover in staff and will impact the working environment and what employees think and feel towards leadership and the workplace they are in.

3) Be grateful more often

Studies have shown that being grateful to those around you has lasting and impactful results. Why do we find it hard to show that we’re grateful? Showing appreciation for others allows them to feel valued and a sense of satisfaction.

Being grateful has been shown to have an effect on health and well-being. Even more of a reason to show your gratitude.

4) Gratitude isn’t all about you

According to an article by Heidi Grant for HBR, ‘Gratitude is a glue that binds you and your benefactor together, allowing you to hit the same well over and over again, knowing that support won’t run dry.’

What we do have to remember is that when we show our gratitude that we do not put our own feelings into our thanks and that we ensure that it is all about the person we are thanking. Make it more about ‘other-praising’ than praise indirectly about ourselves.

5) How to practice gratitude within your team

 In an HBR post which references the importance of qualities to cultivate within your employees- it states that, ‘As a leader, what traits should you cultivate in your employees? Grit – the ability to persevere in the face of challenges? Sure. A willingness to accept some sacrifices and work hard toward a successful future are essential for the members of any team. But I believe there’s another component that matters just as much: grace. I don’t mean the ability to move elegantly or anything religious. Rather, I mean qualities of decency, respect, and generosity, all of which mark a person as someone with whom others want to cooperate.’

Gratitude, compassion and pride are the 3 emotions that David DeStano’s research has led him to believe we should possess to install grit and grace within a team.  These emotions help with the ability to bond with one another and to form relationships. It is this very trait that is seen as the greater determiner in success.

Again, these traits lead to impact on productivity and well-being. Nudge your employees to value these emotions and gains will be seen within the workplace but also from the point of view of the individual and their own gain.

To Summarise: Gratitude and it’s benefits in practice

The benefits of gratitude mean that we’re happier as human beings and this also has positive effects on the brain.

By showing gratitude within the workplace employees self-esteem is raised and they have a greater sense of respect for one another. Through feeling valued and appreciated people feel a sense of optimism, resilience and a greater sense of being. This in turn enables employees to develop a greater depth to their relationships. A workforce that feels of value and importance increases its productivity.

I’m sure you have plenty of examples of gratitude yourself where you have either been on the end of receiving it or have been the giver of showing your thanks.

How do you currently practice gratitude? What would enable you to express gratitude more often?

The dictionary defines gratitude as, ‘The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.’ But what does it mean to you? What qualities do you think you should harness to cultivate a culture of gratitude?

Thank you for reading my article!


Further reading:

If you want to delve deeper into the topic then why not view some examples of the effects of gratitude from chosen articles:

Fostering a culture if gratitude

Be grateful more often

Stop making it all about you

How to cultivate gratitude, compassion and pride on your team


Has this article struck a chord with you? Do you need help in fostering the right culture?

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