The power of ‘thank you’

I noticed an interesting article on the site Medium regarding gratitude – the positive power of saying thanks to someone for their help, a job well done, or being a dependable team member.

“Researchers have known for 15 years that gratitude improves well-being. There’s lots of work done on this already,” says Amit Kumar, assistant professor of marketing at the McCombs School of Business and lead author of a new paper that examines the consequences of showing appreciation. “What was interesting to me is that even though it’s something that’s well-known, people still don’t express gratitude all that often.”

To find out why, Kumar and his co-author Nicholas Epley, from the University of Chicago, conducted a series of studies recently published in Psychological Science looking at what happens when people send letters of gratitude.
“We found that expressers may worry inordinately about how they are expressing gratitude — their ability to articulate the words ‘just right’ — whereas recipients are focused more on warmth and positive intent,” the authors wrote.

“When we’re thinking about ourselves, we tend to think about how competent we are — are we going to be articulate in how we’re expressing gratitude,” says Kumar.

That view may create an “unwarranted barrier” to expressing gratitude more often in everyday life, the researchers say.”

My advice is to keep your thank you message brief, simple and honest. Here are some examples:

If you are a manager, think of sending a thank you email when your team completes a project or achieves an important objective. Everyone likes to know that their efforts made a difference and are recognized. Or selectively use thank you notes to show that someone is doing a great job and that you notice. Try these sample texts and customize them as needed…

Subject line: Thanks everyone!

Dear Team,

Thanks to our team work and lots of hard work, we met the deadline for the X project! Your efforts are really appreciated and I would like to express my thanks to everyone for their contribution to this success.

Your Name

Recognize the special effort of a team member or colleague

Subject line: Thanks very much!

Dear XX,

I appreciate the time and effort you invested to (secure our new client / to solve our IT problem / to make the Paris customer event a success…).

Thank you for your contribution!

Your Name

Someone offers helpful advice…why not express your appreciation?

Subject line: Thank You

Dear XX

Thanks again for taking the time to speak with me about XX. You offered some great input! I’ll keep you updated on the project.

Your Name

Saying thanks takes less than 5 minutes and the benefit is a ripple effect that encourages other people to express positive appreciation too.  It’s a simple step we could all do to build a human workplace.

Thank you to Adam Jang for the great photo, found on one of my favorite stock photo sites, Unsplash