A Love Language Minute: A Thankful Workplace

via Love Languages e-Letter

Utilizing Thanksgiving as a Reminder to Appreciate Your Staff
Thanksgiving is the holiday where we are encouraged to be thankful for the good things in our lives - health, safety, adequate food, clothing, and shelter, as well as the many material blessings we have. For most people, Thanksgiving is usually more of a personally-focused celebration, including sharing meals and time with family and friends.

But the Thanksgiving holiday season can also be an opportunity to focus on, and be reminded of, the positive aspects of our work lives. This is especially true in these more difficult economic times, where many who desire employment are unable to find work or have to settle for a job beneath their professional capabilities.

For those who are supervisors, managers, business owners or leaders in their organizations, the Thanksgiving holiday is an excellent reminder to both remember, and communicate, the most valuable asset in your workplace: the people who work there (both employees and volunteers).

While many people sarcastically say, "I'd enjoy my work more, if it weren't for the people"; in reality, most of us have highly talented and valuable colleagues. And a few minutes of reflection can help each of us identify those positive characteristics that our team members bring to the workplace each day.

Identifying the Positive Characteristics of Colleagues.
Think about the individuals you see and with whom you work regularly.

What do they do that makes you smile?
What character quality do they demonstrate, that if it weren't present would really make life at work tough? (e.g. dependability, thoroughness, punctuality, honesty)
What talents or skills do they regularly demonstrate that are part of "who they are"? (e.g. good communication skills, accurate detailed work, being a good problem solver, creative).

Make a list of your teammates, along with the characteristics you've identified.

Communicating your appreciation.
While it's nice (for you) to reflect on and be thankful for the top quality co-workers you have, it would make their day to hear from you what you appreciate about them. Let me give you some tips that will make the appreciation communicated really "hit the mark" (versus "fall flat"):

Make sure your praise is specific and personal. General, impersonal praise is like eating mashed potatoes without gravy or butter - blah. Use their name. Tell them specifically how their positive characteristic makes your life better. Give a specific example, if possible.
Communicate in a way that will be comfortable for you. You can tell them verbally, write an email, or write a handwritten note in a Thanksgiving card. It doesn't have to be a big deal or production. Just do it.
Absolutely be genuine. Don't try to fake it and don't overstate your appreciation ("You are the best accountant in the world!"). Make sure your tone of voice, facial expression, and body language match what you are communicating. If you are rushed, or uptight about something, wait until you have relaxed before talking to them.

A small act of communicating your appreciation to your colleagues may make their whole Thanksgiving a very special holiday. And the rewards you may reap in the coming weeks may be bountiful as well


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