Showing Gratitude in the Workplace

5 min. read

Building a culture of gratitude will enhance positive team dynamics and shows appreciation for good work.

Being paid to do a job doesn’t have to be all about the Benjamins. An amazing workplace has excellent teamwork with shared values. Gratitude builds you up and helps you be the best you can be. Appreciating fellow team members and colleagues helps form a positive workplace culture. Saying thank you for something is an important part of learning and growing as a person and as a team member. Acknowledging when someone does a good job or when tough challenges are overcome builds the team better than just calling out faults to avert disasters. Sometimes you are lucky enough to feel supported and guided through difficult circumstances by a supervisor or boss. Sometimes a team member does something extraordinary and a thank you is necessary. Positive reinforcement is an important part of creating a workplace that enhances a sense of overall positivity. Gratitude means being grateful and when you are grateful letting someone know that they had a helpful or positive impact on your life in some way is the right thing to do.

“I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks.”

—William Shakespeare

Thanking a team member

When one of your team shines by doing something great, rewarding them doesn’t have to be a bonus at the end of the year or a gold watch. Getting a gift can be an awesome result but if it doesn’t have an accompanying note or letter then you really have not capitalized on the event as best you could. Acknowledging people makes them feel heard and appreciated. Feeling appreciated and valued is a massive part of what makes a great team and a great place to work. If you aren’t valued then why would you go out of your way or the extra mile for your employer? You wouldn’t. You would do the bare minimum. But when you are acknowledged and treated as a person that is important to the team, and company as a whole, it gives you a boost. In turn the whole team benefits from better performance and they can see that rewards are there to be gotten. Make sure your words are genuine and not just a placeholder template thank you note. No one appreciates a fake handshake or smile and a formulaic note says you just can’t be bothered to go out of your way at all.

You don’t need to have a small awards ceremony and call them out in front of the whole team. It isn’t necessarily that sort of a thank you. A personal touch means just that. It needs to feel genuine on a personal level as well as professional. Thanking someone shows emotional intelligence and engenders trust and harmony in the workplace. Saying please and thank you was something our granma instilled in us all as children and it still holds true today, even in the sometimes cutthroat world of business.

Thanking your boss

It can be tough to work out what to write if you want to tell your boss how much you appreciate them. You don’t want to come across too personally or too effusive. It needs to be personal in tone but professionalism is key. Even the simplest "thank you" can go a long way. It doesn’t need to be a long essay at all. You shouldn’t let insecurities or worry about how to word something stop you from thanking someone who has been important in your life or who has helped you get to a new level in life or work. Saying thank you means a lot and can help you build your network later in your career as well.

Feeling appreciated and recognized is important to human beings and it is important to a boss as well as an employee. Keep it short and to the point, you don’t need to write a small novel. Don’t start the letter in an overly familiar fashion either.

Tips for writing a Thank You to your boss

  • Sincerity. Keep it real. Don’t overcomplicate it and don’t waffle on about a whole bunch of platitudes about the company. Only thank your boss for things that are relevant and that you're grateful for.

  • Be specific. Tell your boss the reason you are thankful. Explain how your boss' actions had a positive effect.

  • Proofread and then proofread again. Review it and then review it again. If you are writing it out on a card or in a letter then write it out in rough on a separate piece of paper first. Get your wording right and check your spelling and grammar. You don’t want to go to all the effort of writing a personal message only to spell their name wrong or make an embarrassing error.

When to thank your boss

  • When they help you with your professional growth.
  • Guidance and support: If your boss helps you navigate a difficult situation or supports you through something.
  • Saying thank you for a promotion, bonus, or raise.

“No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others.”

—Alfred North Whitehead

Life is a two-way street and so is communication and trust. Showing appreciation for your boss or a member of your team breeds a positive culture at work and makes people feel valued. Finding opportunities to say thank you without forcing the issue is an excellent team builder. It makes you appreciate the positives in things and can build team spirit and collaboration. Thanking someone for giving you the opportunity to be part of a great team is a good thank you opportunity. Thanking someone for going the extra mile or doing a fantastic job at something reinforces the good work you have been doing building a positive workplace environment.

Saying thank you to your boss needn’t feel like a class pet delivering an apple to a teacher, rather it embodies the raw humanity of the thank you. A personal message thanking someone is not quite a lost art but it isn’t used as fruitfully as it could be. A real heartfelt thank you goes a long way.