What does your job do for you? Have you shared what you appreciate with your boss or colleagues?
With Valentine’s Day coming up, love is in the air. What if you shared what you enjoy about work?!
Expressing Gratitude Makes You Happier
Dr. John Gottman, a relationship researcher since 1969 and founder of The Gottman Institute, coined the phrase “sentiment override.” It means that our feelings act as a filter when we receive information.
A positive sentiment override implies viewing the situation with potential. At work this could translate as giving the benefit of the doubt and not taking it personally when you overhear a team member moan, “What a rotten deal!” With a positive predisposition, this protest invites curiosity. Is this employee discouraged? Could something be amiss with a project or with the distribution of the workload?
Conversely, someone with a negative sentiment override distorts information to find the critique.
- That employee always complains. This comment just proves the point.
- Is this person expecting preferential treatment? Is he trying to squirm out of responsibility?
- What a toxin to our team!
How can we build up our positive sentiment override? Through gratitude. Thankfulness protects folk from falling into the negative sentiment override.
44 Things to Appreciate about Work
How often do you express gratitude about your work? To your colleagues or boss?
Even if you hate dislike your manager or team members, and your situation is less than tolerable ideal, there is surely one aspect of work for which you can express genuine appreciation.
Authenticity is key. (Brown-nosing smells bad.)
Express sincerity by referring to a specific element of your work. Share the impact it has on your life. Some of these items we might take for granted. Imagine professional life without them. We have family members working for the US government. They used to expect a regular paycheck. After the first shutdown, getting paid on time is something for which they are thankful!
I was inspired by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (survival, safety, belonging, esteem, and self-actualization) to come up with this gratitude list.
- Getting paid
- Predictability of income
- A cafeteria which provides decent food at a reasonable price
- Office space with a comfortable chair and a coffee machine
- Cleaning crew that keeps the toilets (and the office) welcoming
- A schedule – you know where to be when
- Vacation time
- Weekends without work
- Evenings free to enjoy personal relationships and pursue hobbies
- Benefits package, possibly including health insurance
- Safe workplace
(Bye, bye asbestos and lead paint)
- Harassment-free workplace
(Loneliness is a factor in the gig economy)
- Smiling (!!) and likable colleagues
(Small gestures matter)
- Diverse colleagues
(They stretch your learning and bring out your creativity)
- A sense of belonging to a team
- Having your ideas heard
- People with whom to have lunch
- Mentors to guide the way
- Completing a job well
- Clearly defined tasks
- Responsibility for a specified task or mission
- Recognition for your work
- Respect from others
- Tools (computer, phone…) to do your work
- Helpful feedback about what you do well
- Helpful feedback about ways to improve
- Training in technical skills & personal development
- Promotion track
- Stretch jobs because your boss believes in your capabilities
- Confidence from your boss and team mates
- Invitation to lunch from your boss
- Request for insight from a team mate
- A raise or bonus
- Congratulations as employee of the month
- Participating in creating something from scratch
- Having goals
- Measurable progress in reaching your goals
- Ability to help team members grow
- A boss who has your back
- Trust in your boss and team mates
- A management that embodies the corporate values
- Purpose-filled work
- Contribution to the well-being of others or society
SAY “Thank You”
Thinking thanks is a first step. Expressing appreciate anchors the gratitude in your mind and creates connection with another person.
To whom will you share thanks about work? Spread the love you would like to receive.
Bond as a Team
Print the 44 Things to Love about Work worksheet and invite team members to pick theirs. Share appreciations at the next team meeting. It might even lead to a discussion of ways to further boost engagement at work.