How to Show Gratitude at Work

autmn_leaves_thank_you.jpgShowing gratitude at work is so important, yet so many of us do it poorly. It takes more than a simple “Thank you,” but if you overdo it you risk looking disingenuous or self-serving. Over the years, I have identified the top three elements I consider when expressing my appreciation – this applies to people I work with just as much as it does to my loved ones.

Be Specific

If you do not identify what you are thankful for, your thanks will not mean much. Make sure you say something like this: “John, thanks for your work on the ABC situation. The way you did XYZ was really creative and will be really big for the company!” They know what they did, but they want to hear you say you know and appreciate it.

Keep Your Motives Pure

Offering praise to another so you look good to your boss or the team is disingenuous and will be seen through. If you are patting someone on the back with one hand while you’re patting yourself on the back with the other one… well, that praise won’t mean much.

Consider What Would Mean the Most to the Person You’re Thanking

For some, it’s a bonus that makes them feel appreciated – hard to go wrong there. But that may not be possible if you aren’t the person’s direct supervisor or your boss won’t allow a bonus. When that’s the case, make sure you ponder what would mean the most to the person you’re seeking to thank. Someone looking for promotion will appreciate you singing her praises publicly in front of her boss and team. Others will value a thoughtful gift with a card. Some would appreciate being taken to lunch.

Expressing gratitude isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept, but if you are specific, have good intentions and consider what would be valued by the person you wish you show your gratitude to you will get your appreciation across.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday!



Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is ExecuNet's president and chief economist. An Arjay Miller Scholar, Mark received his MBA from Stanford University and a BA in economics from Yale University. He joined ExecuNet in 1993, with extensive marketing and new product and business development experience, having served as president and founder of A&M Associates, an investment management firm. Mark's corporate leadership experience includes several senior marketing and financial positions with RCA Global Communications (a GE subsidiary) and American Can Company.

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