It’s one thing to feel gratitude and it’s quite another to express it…especially when you feel thankful for another person.

It’s that time of year, at least in the United States, when we reflect on the blessings in our lives. A great thing to do.

But let’s talk about all those times when we feel appreciation for something someone has done, or just for who they are in our life…and yet we don’t tell them. We think “Oh, he knows how much I appreciate the work he did on that project. I said so…didn’t I?” or “She knows how much I value her wisdom and leadership” or “My staff knows how proud I was of their presentation.”

The answer to those questions is “Maybe they do.” But the truth is, we can’t hear appreciation often enough. I read a quote recently that said something like “All that anyone really wants is to feel good about themselves” …and it went on to say that we can each contribute to others feeling good by expressing the true appreciation we feel for them.

The other thing that happens is that we express it to others, but not to the person for whom we feel the admiration or gratitude.

Whenever I hear someone say something nice about a person who is not present, I ask if they have expressed their appreciation directly to that person? Often the answer is “no,” along with an explanation about how the other person knows it. And I say “tell them again.”

This is especially important for bosses and supervisors. Tell your employees how much you value them; how much you appreciate their time and commitment. Studies have shown that what employees want most from their employer is not more money, but validation and appreciation. Gee, that’s an easy line item to add to the payroll! And yet sadly, so many supervisors don’t seem to have that currency to give.

But don’t forget – in the workplace, appreciation goes both ways. Bosses need to hear it also. Last year in my corporate job, I received a performance bonus, as did all other employees. I was hoping for more than I received but I realized that it was a “bonus,” not an entitlement. I then sent a “thank you” email to the management team. The Chief Operating Officer told me he appreciated my message. He also mentioned that out of 87 employees, only a handful thanked him for their bonus.

I feel so strongly about this subject because, to be perfectly honest I more often think critical thoughts about others (a long-standing habit stemming from my over-analytical thinking, among other things). I am a recovering criticizer, trying to shift my perspective to people’s positive traits. I want to make improvements in this arena because it’s so important to both my personal life and my business life. I certainly know how deeply touched I feel when someone tells me that they appreciate me.

The message here is simple:

  • None of us feels completely self assured or confident
  • Everyone is deeply touched by a sincere compliment
  • Expressed appreciations make people feel good
  • Why not make someone’s day?
  • Tell them specifically how you think they are awesome

And then make a commitment to look for more positive aspects of all the people in your life – even the ones who sometimes drive you crazy! (you know – the people you will be having dinner with on Thursday) 🙂

Go ahead. Express appreciations. And don’t forget that special someone – yourself. Mutter it under your breath or go look in the mirror. But be bold and tell him or her….that s/he rocks!