Gratitude is the best workplace power tool

Daneen Skube

Interpersonal Edge

3:30 PM EDT, September 27, 2013


Q. I'm trying to move ahead in my company and have been reading a lot of success books. What do you consider one of the best attitudes to cultivate that are common to people who get ahead in corporations?

A. Gratitude is one of the most effective workplace power tools. Surprisingly, in today's self-centered business world, gratitude is also one of the most underutilized career tools. Even Oprah (who has launched many careers than anyone) was quoted as observing that she can count the people who have thanked her on one hand.

To bring the power of gratitude into your career, get out a sheet of paper and think of everyone who has helped you. Go year by year and month by month through your history and make notes about what each person did for you.

Now begin to put together a gratitude action plan. You can write appreciative emails and send written cards or even flowers or treats. The Internet makes finding and sending small gifts to anyone in the world an easy task.

Make sure that with every thank-you you send out, you tailor what you write or do for the person you are appreciating. Cookie-cutter thank-you cards come across as canned and insincere. Genuine personal thoughts and feelings about the person who has helped you are always the right color and right size.

A little known secret about men is they enjoy flowers just as much as women. If you have a special male mentor, you'll be surprised how impressed and flattered he is by fresh flowers. Remember, everyone who walks by a desk with flowers asks whom they are from. He will be reminded of your thoughtful gesture every time someone asks.

After you've finished with your past, look at your workplace, customers and coworkers through a lens of gratitude. Believe me, no one in your workplace ever goes home and complains about how they had too much appreciation that day at work. When a coworker, customer, or even your boss goes out of their way to help you, let them know you appreciate it!

People sometimes talk about having an "attitude of gratitude" because it sounds snappy and rhymes. Beyond a popular phrase, it is an uncommon perspective, especially in the workplace. If you can cultivate and practice the art of appreciating what people do for you, they'll be more motivated to help you in the future.

No one gets ahead without a network that is invested in seeing you succeed. Learn to put gratitude into the banks of those who invest in you, and watch the dividends of success roll in.

The last word(s)

Q. My boss just hired his favorite brother to work on our team. The guy is completely inept. My coworkers think I should just tell our boss the truth. Is there a diplomatic way to let our boss know he needs to fire his brother?

A. Yes, let the facts speak to your boss and remain silent unless you are ready to look for a new job.

(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at http://www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)