“There is no perfect job.” That line is attributable to me. During my work career, I feel like I have said that when coaching someone what seems like hundreds of times. We are all dealing with imperfections in both human and structural elements when it comes to a job.
When last we met, (through print) we were discussing the book by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans “Designing Your Work Life.” Suggestions by the authors are worth exploring in subsequent articles. For the second of four articles, and most timely for the first article of 2021, is to embrace “gratitude.” Do keep in mind that I emphasized the need for self-ownership for the, “69% of employees who are disengaged.”
While researching gratitude at and in work, I found much more information than I thought I would when I undertook the assignment. Entering, “gratitude at work,” there were a number of sites listing five, seven, or 13 ways to express gratitude at work. Three of the five, seven, and 13 appear worthy of discussion here.
First worthy of note is to thank those who never get thanked. For example, I have read in numerous places it is most important to recognize the receptionist at a place of business. This individual works the front desk, may answer the phone, and is the first contact with an organization. Bank tellers are others who are unrecognized (another creative word from the Doctor). Cleaning and cooking staffs at hospitals also fall into this category.
So, John, how do you recognize these folks when you interact with them? First, be courteous and respectful. Second, smile and thank them for their contributions. Simple and easily accomplished on our part. After all, this does not need to be complex. Making some feel thanked and important costs the sender nothing and becomes quite important to the receiver.
A second point worth noting is to aim for quality and be specific when expressing thankfulness for effort, courtesy, or a job well done. One would be surprised at the number of managers (leaders) who struggle with this. On more than one occasion, I have heard and read where a manager has responded, “why should I recognize such and such person for doing a job for which they are already paid?”
Hey manager, look at those statistics on disengagement. Not only can you (the manager) have a positive influence on work performance, in the long run, you may retain an individual where the receiver may have been looking to leave your organization. High turnover rates are costly in both time and money. So, just make the effort and look for the opportunity to give thanks when appropriate and meaningful.
The third point of importance is to be public about the positive recognition. Hearing a compliment in front of peers and/or other employees serves as a worthy recognition that costs nothing and yet will be meaningful for the receiver. Next time you have the opportunity, praise, be specific, and smile. You will be practicing gratitude.