Research shows that people love to receive words of affirmation.  For some, it’s their main love language.  Showing gratitude for others effort and gifts they bring to the company can create a sense of importance and significance.  It’s human nature to want to feel like they belong to a bigger cause or a community.  One way to do this is to remind them what they bring to the work environment and that they matter.  Managers can even shape employees behavior by commenting on things they are improving on or doing that match a companies values or work ethic.  The more these things get attention, the more likely an employee is to repeat the desired behavior.  Just make sure the comment is sincere and authentic or workers will feel manipulated and the feedback will be less powerful.  

Gratitude has been shown to help others focus on the positive rather than the negative, and see what’s working versus what’s not.  Switching their focus can often reduce depression and negativity in people.  The saying “we are what we think about all day” seems to be true.  Looking on the bright side and finding things to be thankful for is especially important when in the middle of a dilemma or tough time.  It builds resiliency and helps people move forward instead of getting stuck in a downward spiral. 

How can you create an attitude of gratitude?

Check your own focus.  What stories do you tell yourself and others about situations?  

Set times each day to venture out of your office, make your rounds to employees, and comment on one thing about them your are grateful for.  

when you’re walking around the office, intentionally notice what is working, who is going above and beyond, and overall the people around you.  Instead of keeping those things to yourself, let those doing a great job know.

Try commenting on peoples efforts and time spent on a project versus the end result.  Sometimes, even find things about the person themselves and not their work that you are thankful for.  Writing notes or official thank you cards or emails versus telling the person is a nice change as well.

Start off your staff meeting with everyone finding something they are grateful for in the work place or about the current topic prior to diving into the topics that are the main focus.

Have a journal or log in the office common area for people to write aspects they are grateful for,  

post emails or announcements on a bulletin board about a persons efforts or personality that adds to the company, and put positive notes up to show public appreciation.  Remember that criticism or negative feedback is best done in private.

Each company has their rules, however, allow an employee to work remotely when possible, have a paid day off, or bring in lunch for your staff.  Small gestures like these show that you notice and care about your employees and not just them working for you.

Remember to ask questions about the employee as a person and engage in small talk.  If your only conversing with staff for the sole purpose of providing feedback, then that is all that people will see you as.  Treating people as human beings that have a life outside of work is important.

In addition, going to bat for your team instead of throwing them under the bus for your own benefit is huge.  When people see you stand behind them or advocate for them, it shows you are grateful for what they do and that they are important.