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How to Show Gratitude at Work and Boost Someone’s Day

Everyone wants to feel appreciated. For many, appreciation is just saying thank you. But appreciation only begins with saying thanks.

True appreciation is not only recognizing someone’s excellent efforts and contribution. The term actually means “to recognize and enjoy” a person’s value or good qualities. It means showing respect and understanding as well as gratitude.

Business thrives on appreciation. Here are simple ways you can show real appreciation for others and make their day a bit better.

  1. Write It By Hand 

An electronic thank you is okay for many who will ultimately skim it, trash it and move on. But if you take time and care to craft the perfect message of appreciation, why not write it nicely by hand? Finding a lovely card in the mailbox or on the desk is a nice surprise, and it increases the chance they’ll read your message with care.

  1. Pick Up the Cup

A small gesture respecting someone’s comfort and convenience can mean a lot. If you’re heading by the break room, offer to take the other person’s empty coffee cup with you. If you’re dropping by accounting, offer to take their paperwork with yours. You’ll need to make sure the cup or file gets promptly to the appropriate destination, of course. The gesture requires little additional effort for you but removes a burden for them and makes their day just a bit happier.

  1. Acknowledge an Absence

If someone goes on vacation or is out on sick or personal leave, that creates a vacuum. It is easy to be annoyed or resentful about the extra workload. Instead, happily pick up some of the slack, and when the person returns, tell them how much they were missed and that their particular contribution is important. They will work that much harder if they know others see and value their efforts.

  1. Give It Back

People often borrow small things on the spur of the moment – a pen, a stapler, a book, etc. – with the intention of returning them. But so many times one gets busy and forgets. The lender is stuck without a tool they need and feels inconvenienced and annoyed. It only takes a moment to return an item you borrowed when you’re done with it.

  1. Clean It Up

On a busy day, it is really tempting to leave your dishes in the break room sink or your files piled on the conference room table. You’ll come back and handle it in a few minutes … and five hours later, the mess is still there. Schedule 10 minutes into your lunch or meeting time so you can pick up after yourself. It shows everyone else you respect and appreciate their right to use the common spaces, too.

  1. Offer Public Praise

It feels good to be told, “You did an awesome job.” It feels even better to hear it in front of other people. Look for opportunities to pay small compliments at meetings or in the hallway. Others will likely chime in, which exponentially increases the recipient’s pleasure.

  1. Give Them a Do-Over

Even the best of us make mistakes, and slip-ups come in all flavors: from saying the wrong thing, to missing a deadline, to clicking “send” too soon. Everyone deserves the chance at an occasional do-over so they can try to get back on track. Show people that you trust them to make things right.

  1. Celebrate the Milestones

Birthdays are just the beginning. Work anniversaries, getting engaged, welcoming a child, successfully opening a new location – personal and professional milestones are important. Your colleagues probably don’t expect to be showered with gifts, but everyone likes when others remember the milestones and stop to say “congratulations” or “many happy returns!”

  1. Leave a Lagniappe

lagniappe is a small, inexpensive gift. Drop one on a co-worker’s desk when you see them having a hard day: a flower, an origami crane, a hand-drawn doodle, or a smiley face on a post-it. Any small gesture can make a big difference.

Kevin Daum is an award winning and bestselling author of 5 books. He is a marketer, speaker, and columnist for Inc.com and Smart Business Magazine. As an Inc. 500 entrepreneur, his sales and marketing techniques resulted in more than $1 billion in sales. Drawing on his background in theatre and business, Kevin is a compelling speaker who has engaged and inspired audiences around the globe. Kevin is a graduate of the MIT Entrepreneurial Masters program and has received the Global Learning Award 3 times from the Entrepreneur’s Organization, where he held several board positions. Kevin has designed, produced, and led award-winning executive training programs and events for C-level executives and entrepreneurs on four continents. Previously, Kevin was named one of the 40 people to watch under 40 in San Francisco by the Business Times and in 2006 was named Distinguished Alum of the Year by his alma mater, Humboldt State University.