Take time to thank your co-workers, managers, others

For many people who work, it's easy to find reasons to complain. They aren't making enough money, don't have enough vacation, aren't getting ahead fast enough, aren't appreciated enough. They preoccupy themselves with how everyone seems to have it better than they do, and seldom stop and look behind them at all the people who wish they had it as good as the complainers themselves.

This Thanksgiving holiday season, why not stop and remember all the good things you have to be grateful for? Better yet, why not tell people what you appreciate about them and what they do? Here are some examples:

·        Tell your co-workers what you appreciate most about them. After all, they have to put up with your working style and personality quirks all year, so I'm sure they'd like to hear a "thank you" once in a while. In any team setting, people are required to be tolerant and flexible to get along and get the job done. If you think you've got a lot of boneheads to contend with, what might they think about you? Expressing your thanks costs you nothing and goes a long way toward building a stronger, cohesive team.

·        Tell your manager what you appreciate about him or her. If you're worried about looking like you're kissing up, forget it. Most managers get so little praise and thanks that a simple acknowledgement of appreciation won't make you look like a political lap dog. If fact, being a manager today is so difficult, some organizations are having a tough time recruiting people into manager positions. "After all," someone told me recently, "what's attractive about working 60 hours a week, managing a group of demanding, lawsuit-happy employees and putting up with top management's demands?" A little appreciation would go a long way.

·        Take time to express your appreciation for people who make your life easier. Typically, people such as the custodian, mail room clerk and switchboard operator get little notice at all, let alone a "thank you". Of course, they are first in line to get screamed at when something goes wrong, since they aren't in positions that can wield much political power in their own defense. So, thanking them for the extra things they do for you is a worthy investment of goodwill.

·        Thank your company president, CEO or owner for things they have done to make your life better. For example, too often, employees take company benefits for granted, or worse, as entitlement. Yet, most benefits are at the discretion of top management and can cost a company millions of dollars. Or, perhaps, there is a new initiative that you appreciate. For example, in one company I know, some policies were changed to reflect management's desire to put more control and responsibility in the hands of the employees. The President told me about a handwritten letter he received from an employee thanking him for his trust in her and the rest of the employees. The President saved and cherished that letter.

·        Don't forget to thank your employees. They contribute their energy and initiative to your goals and make them happen. Sure, you can argue that it's what they are paid to do, however, it's the personal commitment and discretionary willingness that makes things happen. Do they come in early and stay late to finish an important project? Do they take some extra burdens off your back?

Do they think ahead and help you anticipate problems? Do they jump through hoops for the customer? Numerous studies reveal that recognition and appreciation rank above salary when employees are asked what they really want most from their jobs.

·        Thank your spouse and children for the things they do that enable you to work. Whether you are a person with a spouse, whose job it is to run the household, or a person whose spouse works outside the home, everyone makes adjustments to make it work. Let your children know the contribution they make is appreciated, since they, too, must do their share of the chores and take on more responsibilities.

·        And as long as we're at it, why not be thankful that we can work in a free and prosperous country? Our robust economy has made jobs plentiful and opportunity endless. You can start your own business, continue your schooling, choose among employers who are eager to fill jobs, work at home, work flexible hours and take advantage of countless other opportunities. I have little patience with the victim mentality and those who feel entitlement is their right. It's there for the taking but we need to earn it and be grateful that we can.

So, this holiday season, why not take a look at all you have to be thankful for and let those around you know how much you appreciate them. If everyone took a few moments to do it, what a powerful elixir we would bring to our workplace.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
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