5 ways to create a grateful workplace

Too many people leave work every day thinking, “My boss doesn’t appreciate me.”

“When you feel that your boss doesn’t fully value your work, you start to care a little less. You don’t provide the kind of service you would if you felt appreciated. You don’t make an effort to help your co-workers,” says Liz Jazwiec, author of Eat That Cookie!: Make Workplace Positivity Pay Off.

That’s why Jazwiec is a big believer in workplace gratitude. Not just the kind that passes from boss to employee, but from employee to employee and to their bosses.

“It’s obvious when you are in a workplace where people value gratitude and graciousness,” says Jazwiec. “There is a really great vibe in those places. And when gratitude and graciousness are missing, it is equally evident.”

Jazwiec’s tips for hardwiring workplace gratitude from the ground up:

1. Say “thanks.” Meet any gratitude your boss shows with a little gratitude in return, suggests Jazwiec. “Otherwise he will start thinking that his recognition doesn’t really mean anything to anyone, and his exercise in gratitude will be short-lived.”

2. Adopt an “it’s the thought that counts” attitude.

Example: As a new vice president at a hospital, Jazwiec wanted to do something special for her hardworking staff, so she provided free pizza for staff over a three-day span.

As she walked around the departments, she expected to hear appreciation. Instead, she heard team members grumbling because they couldn’t leave their patients to go down to the cafeteria.

“Now, I did learn from that experience,” she says. “I knew that the next time I should have the pizzas delivered directly to the units. But had I been someone with a different personality, I might have just decided never to order pizzas, or do anything else special ever again.”

Lesson: Take into account others’ intentions. If they meant for something to be a way of thanking you or helping you, don’t complain about how they missed the mark. Thank them and move on.

3. Ask for gratitude. “Now, I am not suggesting you go around asking people to thank you for what you are doing,” says Jazwiec. “That would be pretty obnoxious.”

But often your leaders or co-workers can be so tied up in their own tasks that they forget about showing gratitude. Ask your boss or co-workers whether you are giving them everything they need from you.

You might also start showing them some appreciation. If you start making other people feel appreciated, nine times out of 10, they’ll reciprocate.

4. Be prepared for some kind words. “When I first started speaking, I had no idea what to say to people when they told me they liked my presentation,” says Jazwiec. “I had to rehearse being gracious and grateful.”

5. Know that gratitude encourages repeat performances. Want to influence someone’s behavior? Catch them doing something right, and thank them for it.

Tip: Find business thank-you note samples at: www.thank-you-note-samples.com/business-thank-you-note.html.

If you take the time to give thanks, says Jazwiec, “you’ll like each other more. You’ll want to go the extra mile for one another.”

For more advice, read our free report, 14 Tips on Business Etiquette.