Expressing Gratitude

Thanking people works wonders for business because it expresses one of our most basic emotions: gratitude. When someone does something nice for you, they expect gratitude — and think less of you for withholding it.

Sure you pay people a fair wage, but why not also say thank you for a job well done?

The best thing about saying “Thank you” is that it reaffirms the behavior you want more of and creates closure in any potentially explosive discussion.

What can you say after someone thanks you? You can’t argue with them. You can’t try to prove them wrong. You can’t trump them, get angry or ignore them. And most of all, when used in giving praise to others, it’s a very inexpensive way to reward workers for a job well done.

Research proves gratitude is good for business

I“Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan,” Francesca Gino, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, explores a range of fascinating subjects, including how emotions influence decisions and the often-thorny matter of understanding the perspectives of others. Blending social science and real-world examples, Gino’s book also highlights the science of gratitude.

“Receiving expressions of gratitude makes us feel a heightened sense of self-worth, and that in turn triggers other helpful behaviors toward both the person we are helping and other people, too,” Gino said. She described the scope of the “gratitude effect” as “the most surprising part” of her research.

By missing chances to express gratitude, organizations and leaders lose relatively cost-free opportunities to motivate employees and stimulate dialogue. 

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