It’s up to us to teach our children but sometimes, when we least expect it, our children teach us. My son brought home a letter from his school today about teaching thankfulness. It made me think about my own work environment and how often we say thank you. I must admit that we do a pretty good job of saying thank you and recognizing each other’s accomplishments, no matter how big or small they are. Oscar Wilde said, "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention."
From a simple bless you when someone sneezes to saying thank you when a coworker holds the door open for you, these pleasantries that most of us take for granted matter and they in fact promote teamwork. Think about it for a moment. If you sneeze and no one says bless you, are you likely to say it back to someone else when they sneeze? Probably not. But you will pay it forward if someone blesses you. It’s the same for a thank you. Is there a coworker that you just don’t get along with? When was the last time you thanked him and he thanked you? If you but heads a lot, how can you argue against a thank you. A thank you can be the pebble in the pond that ripples bigger and bigger and before you know it, that coworker may turn out to be one of your closest confidants. Maybe you’ll find out that it was just a misunderstanding the whole time, a difference in communication styles.
Here’s an idea: Look for an opportunity to thank someone today, and do it. Don’t go overboard and send your team flowers or a singing telegram to show your appreciation. You’ll be surprised how far just a small thank you can go. And, by the way, appreciation is good for business. A Lenox etiquette poll found that nearly five out of every 10 people don't always say thanks — that remembering to do so is a sales point of difference. It also goes a long way toward forging the relationships that can turn into opportunities.
Team building programs are another way to say thank you and not just a thank you to your own team members either. Team building programs like Wheels for the World and Kindness Wins are a great way to build your team while making a positive impact on your community.
Just imagine how being thankful can change the world. Maybe if enough people celebrated being thankful, it might just become into a national holiday…oh wait, it is. Happy Thanksgiving!