5 ways to show your team more gratitude

Thanksgiving is always a time that allows and encourages us to reflect on what we are thankful for in our life.

When we’re gathered together with family and friends in front of a feast of food, it’s natural for us to be grateful for many things. But how often do we look around our offices and think of how thankful we are for our teams? How frequently do we consider all the work they do, thank an individual for that late night of overtime, or simply take a moment to reflect on our company’s support?

The organizations that you run as a leader are full of people, from your top executive down to entry-level positions, who are there to support your mission. They have committed this time of their lives and careers – their Monday through Friday and occasional weekends and evenings – to see through our vision. Without our teams, we would not be able to do what we do.

Showing gratitude for the people within our organizations ought to be more frequent than once a year. Creating a culture of appreciation will significantly boost the morale of your company. Appreciation also instills trust and naturally encourages employees to increase their productivity and work with clarity, because they do not have to second-guess themselves at their job.

While we may feel grateful and think of what we’re thankful for, we don’t even realize we may never verbalize these thoughts. By thanking the people who work for us, we may be surprised at how quickly and drastically it will change the environment and quality of work.

Here are simple ways to show your team more gratitude:

  1. Think of what you’re grateful for. It may sound simple and seem trite, but if we’re never making time to think about what we’re thankful for, how can we begin to express it? Create a time of the day or week to think of what you appreciate about your team. If you don’t care to schedule it in, each time you critique or think of things you wish your team could change, take a moment to think about what they do well.
  2. Write a note of thanks. Email or text someone thanking them for something they’ve done that you appreciate. We all have different ways that we feel comfortable communicating, but sometimes the act of writing it down on paper or typing up a few meaningful thoughts in an email can go a long way. If it is for a small gesture someone displayed, whether working a few hours late one night or going out of their way to help a co-worker complete a project, a simple text can be a great encouragement.
  3. Give a gift of appreciation. You can also show how much you appreciate your team members by giving them a gift. Whether it’s thanking your team for a late night of work or a  season where everyone shared an extra load, consider giving your team a tangible thank you. A physical symbol of gratitude will go the extra mile to acknowledge the hard work they have put in. Think of giving your team a monetary bonus outside of a yearly bonus, a gift card to enjoy a meal or treat outside of work or a birthday gift for each employee.
  4. Give them public acknowledgment. Some may at first react embarrassed by public displays of gratitude and praise, but it is incredibly edifying when an employee is thanked in front of their team. It also sets a standard that the rest of the group will then be eager to attain.
  5. Engrain a spirit of thanks in your culture. Make time to celebrate monthly wins, or even start weekly meetings with ten minutes of thanks to those who had to show up a bit more that week. The more giving and generous you are with your gratitude, the more that will be naturally communicated among co-workers and will come back to encourage you as well.

We all communicate differently, and we are all attentive to different things. You may not verbalize your appreciation as much as you criticize your teams, even if you mean it to be constructive. Rather than always working to fix your team, find more moments to lift them up.

As leaders, it is our job to lead a team, and leading also means cheering each other on. In learning how to find moments to show gratitude in our workplaces, we will find our eyes are opened to more opportunities to be grateful in each moment.