If I asked the people you work with if you are a great coworker, what would they say? Yes? Sometimes? It depends? No, not really?

Would they feel like this?

used with permission by Ralph Lazar @lastlemon

This month begins a four-part series on how to become a better coworker and it starts with one of my favorite topics – gratitude – showing appreciation.

Research shows that gratitude makes a HUGE difference in the workplace. Here’s the proof.

Proof #1. I surveyed over 800 working professionals a few years ago about what makes them want to work with or for others and what makes them trust others in the workplace (a.k.a. G Factor). The NUMBER 1 response was, you guessed it, gratitude.

Proof #2. Research by Bersin & Associates in 2012 found saying “thank you” or making employee recognition a priority resulted in a 14% increase in employee engagement and productivity.

Proof #3. A 2019 study published in Journal of Applied Psychology found, “Receipt of gratitude, in turn, is associated with increases in perceived prosocial impact and work engagement the following day.”

Proof #4.  Motivation, happiness, and contentment are ALL positively impacted when gratitude is expressed. Gratitude is even more impactful when it is specifically expressed to an individual (Patil, Biswas, Kaur, 2018).

Proof #5. The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, by Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White.

After seeing relationship success from The Five Love Languages, Dr. Chapman wondered if those same languages existed in the workplace. So, he teamed up with Dr. White, a behavioral sciences psychologist, and the research showed that YES, the five languages did exist in the workplace. But CAUTION, they are not one and the same. They show up differently and to different degrees in the workplace.

The languages show up as appreciation.

If you want the BEST chance of being a better coworker through appreciation, start with words of affirmation because approximately 45% of the people you work with have this as a primary language of appreciation.  Here are some tips to do it well:

  • Be specific
  • Mean what you say
  • Know if they want an audience or not
  • Determine if verbal or written expression will have a better impact
  • Affirm by noticing performance or encouraging performance

Your next best bet for being a better coworker is quality time. Thirty to 35% of people in the workplace have this as a primary language of appreciation. Here are tips to do it well:

  • Be fully present (eliminate distractions)
  • Listen more, listen better
  • Show interest
  • Watch and listen for what isn’t being communicated
  • Resist over talking
  • Protect scheduled time (in other words, don’t reschedule unless it is absolutely necessary)

Now, what will you do today to genuinely express your gratitude to a coworker?

For more information on gratitude in the workplace, visit these:

Little Thank Yous that Make a Big Difference

Gratitude During a Pandemic

Acts of Service: The Five Languages of Appreciation

Gifts: The Five Languages of Appreciation

Physical Touch: The Five Languages of Appreciation

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