Our preliminary posts on being grateful and using gratitude have been insightful. One millennial friend told me that he started a gratitude journal that he completes nightly before bed and that he reminds his employees of the same daily. Others just have said right on, or I agree, or, duh, who could argue. Well of course in this world we will get some folks on insta or social arguing with us, but who cares, I believe gratitude leads to everywhere! Do you? Well, do you want to have your best year yet? Start by leading with GRATITUDE in every interaction. Showing gratitude will take you further than almost any other skill you can master in life. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, valued, and important. And showing gratitude at the start of every conversation or interaction is a subtle way to make it about THEM.
In his 1936 classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie argues, “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. As humans, we are wired for self-preservation and self-interest. This has not changed from Carnegie’s time and it will not change in the future. We are programmed to look out for ourselves first and constantly be seeking to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” So when you use a person’s name, when you lead with a grateful thank you or explanation of what you mean to them, you appeal to their basic nature and you make it about them. And if you make it about them, you will win. Full stop.
But showing gratitude is not about being fake or inauthentic. Particularly if you’re dealing with millennials, the other person will know when you’re not being real with them. So, when you lead with gratitude, make sure you’re thanking them the right way with real deal, authentic expressions of how grateful you are to have them in your life.
In business and in life, most of the time you will find yourself interacting with people from one of the following three groups. It’s important to know how to properly express gratitude to these people, which will make a tremendous difference in your relationships. I challenge you to read through the examples below and start and/or end every conversation you have today with gratitude!
How to Show Gratitude to Your Peers
What better way to build trust than to build up a peer with genuine gratitude? Try stopping them in the hall and saying, “It is super rewarding to have you on my team because __________. I am glad we are working together on this project.” Or “I appreciate your friendship, especially the way you ____________. It means a lot to me knowing you have my back.”
When you show gratitude to a peer, they are likely to reciprocate. Perhaps not at first, especially if leading with gratitude is a bit new to them. But eventually, they will. And the cool thing about this is, particularly when it comes to peers, it can lead to new opportunities in the workplace or in life. Peers are one of your best resources to tap into for new job opportunities or to make new connections.
How to Show Gratitude to a Mentor
Mentors are mentors because by definition of the word, they get great benefit from teaching and helping others. So, if and when you let them know how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them, you make their day! It is amazing how many people say, ‘no’ or stare blankly, when I ask someone we are coaching if they actually let their mentor know what that person meant to them and the impact they have had.
The next time you get on the phone with or see your mentor in person, take a moment to express gratitude by saying “I want to tell you how much I appreciate your insight and advice, even if it’s not always what I want to hear. I am grateful to you for taking the time to invest in me, it does not go unnoticed.” I bet even the toughest mentor will be smiling from ear to ear when they hear that!
How to Show Gratitude to Your Employer or Boss
Bosses are people, too! Now, they hate kiss-ass stuff, we all do, but genuine feedback and gratitude for what a boss does for you will go a long way. Try saying “I am grateful to learn from you” or “Thank you for the assignment you gave me” or “Thank you for the feedback on that last project, I appreciate you taking the time to help me improve and do better”. These types of expressions of gratitude also show self-awareness and emotional intelligence (EQ), which are two of the most important life/work skills. And this type of gratitude further contributes to and helps build the relationship you have with your boss. Remember: your boss isn’t just the person who pays you. A boss can help you leverage opportunity within their organization and when you’re ready to move on, provide a great reference for you.
Try it. Notice the difference. And then make gratitude your M.O. Through practice and repetition, you will start to make gratitude a habit. And then you will win in the workplace and in life.