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.”

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.

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