A recent article by Julie Watson of the Associated Press talks about the desire of many Americans to offer their gratitude for the heroic work of the Navy SEAL team. People are seeking a variety of ways ranging from expressing thanks through social media to making donations to military foundations to show their pride and gratitude for what was achieved. It is frustrating for many who would prefer to give a more direct and personal expression of thanks, but that does not work when it comes to these “quiet professionals.”
A job well done is not isolated to those who exhibit bravery and the ultimate of accomplishments. Employees in their careers accomplish much in their daily tasks, although the results may not appear as monumental. Showing thanks for a job well done is an important aspect of work life, but all too often, managers only document and discuss employees’ flaws rather than their accomplishments. When did you say a genuine thank you to someone for a specific job well done?
Showing appreciation can make employees feel their work is worthwhile and can create a positive mood that spills over to home life, as well. Working in a setting that nurtures workers through sincere, kind words of thanks can lead to positive emotions that impact health, conscientiousness, and creativity. Words that are shared in the workplace are valuable opportunities because they can have a tremendous impact on the receiver.
The benefits of positive emotion are many. As stated in the article, “Work as a Source of Positive Emotional Experiences and the Discourses Informing Positive Assessment” in Western Journal of Communication, January-February 2011:
Research suggests that positive affect improves efficiency, broadens attention, increases intuition, enhances problem-solving, improves information recall, leads to more cooperative approaches, expands cognitive processes and improves physical and mental performance. These benefits also appear to be durable. Other work has found associations between positive emotions and helpfulness, generosity, cooperativeness, graciousness, and increased trust.
Work should be intrinsically motivating. The job itself should be a source of meaning. In the case of the Navy SEALS, they accomplished a task demonstrating excellence in execution, and the outcome of their work was a contribution appreciated not only by their leaders but also by millions of Americans and others, as well. This work was truly meaningful work.
People want to feel good about themselves. And they also want to be valued by others.
The workplace is a social setting where words shared have a greater impact than a manager or supervisor may realize. Showing that you care can make a difference. Thanking workers when they do good work can make a difference. Communicating how a person’s work makes a contribution can make a difference. Nurturing positive emotion in others can make a difference.
Isn’t it time you make a difference in the lives of others at work? Say thank you for a job well done. Encourage and appreciate others’ efforts. Take the time to nurture positive emotions. It helps others, and it might just help you, too.