Good teammates are grateful. They appreciate the people in their lives, are genuinely thankful when someone is kind to them, and never hesitate to express their gratitude.
Studies have consistently shown that individuals who are grateful experience better physical and mental health. They are also less likely to engage in toxic behaviors like jealousy and resentment, which is why having a proverbial “attitude of gratitude” can strengthen relationships between team members.
Here are ten ways for teammates to express gratitude:
1. Say “Thank you.” It’s the most obvious way and that’s why we put it first on the list. However, a surprising amount of people underestimate the power of those two simple words—thank you. When spoken with sincerity, they can be the most motivating words in the English language.
2. Add an addendum. An addendum is a supplement that provides a little more information and a lot more potency. When you follow up “thank you” with an addendum phrase like “I appreciate this more than you’ll ever know” or “You have no idea how much this means to me,” you exponentially multiply the effects of your gratitude.
3. Touch them. A handshake, a pat on the back, or hug can also multiply the effectivenss of your words. Physical contact offers a transfer of energy, amplifying what we say. But make sure you’re making physical contact at the right time. A good rule of thumb is touch when you are contributing to a person’s self-esteem (compliments, praise, admiration, etc.), not when you’re depleting (criticism, disapproval, discipline, etc.)
4. Give an unexpected gift. A small token of your appreciation (a cup of coffee, a piece of their favorite candy, a new pen, etc.) goes a long way. It doesn’t have to be anything big, in fact small is probably better. I heard a story recently about a pop star who loved lip balm. One day a member of his staff bought him a tube of ChapStick, and the gift brought the pop star, who was known for being generous, to tears. Since the pop star already seemed to have everything that money could buy, people overlooked the impact a small gift like ChapStick could have on him.
5. Take them for a meal. Western civilizations celebrate their most important occasions with food (Christmas, Thanksgiving, wedding receptions, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). Few things call for greater celebration than gratitude. Taking someone to lunch or buying that person dinner is a great way to show your appreciation because you gift them food and your time.
6. Acknowledge them publicly. Did someone help you? Did someone do something kind for you? Let others know about it! Become that person’s biggest fan and publicly acknowledge him or her. Openly sing that person’s praises to others.
7. Send a random text or email. Receiving an unexpected text or email letting you know you are appreciated makes your heart smile. You can read it over and over again. You can hold on to it and re-read it when you are down and need a pick-me-up. It’s like plugging your heart into a battery charger.
8. Send a handwritten note. It may be old-fashioned, but it’s still charming. A handwritten note carries the same value as a random text or email, only a handwritten note has the additional benefit of being able to be hung on a wall, so people other than just the recipient can experience your gratitude.
9. Like their posts. Liking and sharing someone’s social media posts is a modern-day exercise in conveying emotion, especially gratitude. When you like, and even more so when you share, people’s posts, you let them know you appreciate their willingness to allow you to witness their joy. Want to express more “social media” gratitude? Here’s a secret: love their post, instead of just liking it. Did you know that Facebook, for instance, limits the number of friends who get to see a user’s post? The more likes a post gets, the more people Facebook allows to see it. When you make the extra effort to click on the heart icon (love) instead of the thumbs up icon (like), you influence the Facebook algorithm and increase how many friends get to view a post. Love is always better than like.
10. Ask what you can do for them. We often assume saying thank you is enough, and in most cases it is. But don’t be satisfied with that assumption. If people do something for you that is worthy of your gratitude, take the time to ask them if there is anything that you can do for them. Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. Even if declined, your offer to reciprocate reassures them that their actions moved you to being willing to act.
Expressing gratitude boosts happiness. Good teammates share their gratitude up, down, and across—meaning they thank those above them (their supervisors), those below them (their subordinates), and those across from them (their peers). Doing so extends their happiness in all directions.
It would be hypocritical of me to not take this opportunity to thank you for reading today’s Teammate Tuesday entry. If you loved or shared this post on social media, then I am even more grateful (You have no idea how much we appreciate it!). And if there is anything our team can do to help you, please be sure to let us know.
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.