Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  No Thanks to Us: The Lack of Gratitude at Work

  • Write a thank you note.
  • Give your full attention.
  • Offer an olive branch.
  • Stab in front.
  • Do a daily act of kindness.

No Thanks to Us: The Lack of Gratitude at Work

When it comes to expressing gratitude, the workplace is dead last. No wonder why they call it work. Ironically expressing gratitude will not only create a healthier workplace, it will also create a healthier you. Really. Studies show that you'll have better health, deeper sleep and less anxiety and depression, so there is value in bringing Thanksgiving to work on a regular basis. Which reminds me of the Frankenturkey in Farmington, CT. Normally wild turkeys don't tend to be aggressive, especially in the fall. But Frankenturkey didn't follow the rules, he was actually spotted pecking at cars.

Speaking of foul encounters, how can we end the vicious cycle at work and replace it with a virtuous one? For more of us to bring an attitude of gratitude to work. Sure there are plenty of reasons to be annoyed at work, but why choose a vicious cycle when you can start a virtuous one? Here are a few strategies to do just that.

Write a thank you note. Okay, it sounds like advice that your mom would give. Most of us send thank you emails. There is only one problem, this is inherently forgettable. Just to prove my point, I just looked up to see a thank you note someone gave me two years ago that's still on the bulletin board above my desk. Thank memorably.

Give your full attention. Can you remember the last time that you talked to someone when their attention wasn't divided between you and their cell phone, iPad or computer? I can't. That's why it's so important to express your gratitude to people in one of the most obvious ways possible, give them all your attention.

Offer an olive branch. It's always a great idea to offer an olive branch by taking your nemesis out to coffee or lunch to bury the hatchet. In today's turbulent workplace it pays to have all the friends you can out there.

Stab in front. My uncle Fred once told me that enemies stab you in the back, your friends should always stab you in the front. Offer constructive criticism to people you work with. Sure it can be hard, but it's going to be a lot better for them to receive criticism from you than from their boss or a big customer. Just be sure to offer it in the spirit of helping them rather than to punish.

Do a daily act of kindness. Recently I was in a meeting and they guy sitting next to me kept refilling my water glass. It was so simple, but so considerate. What can you do for a coworker that will take only a small amount of energy but will be remembered?

One study found that 35% of us don't bring a gracious attitude to work for fear of being taken advantage of. Follow these tips and you can avoid being your workplace's Frankenturkey. In fact, people will even be there to save your neck next time there's a problem at work.

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via


Thought of the Week

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."

–William Arthur Ward

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

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