Here's a question just in time for Thanksgiving: Does your organization encourage a culture of gratitude? Not in a 2009 way: “In this economy, you'd better be grateful just to have a job!" Rather, in a genuine, pre-recession way: “I appreciate my coworkers, I let them know it, and the feeling is mutual."

Chances are the answer is no. According to a recent Gallup poll, 65% of people say they don't feel appreciated at work. Author Liz Jazwiec aims to help companies gain an attitude of gratitude.

“Too many people leave work every day thinking, ‘My boss doesn't appreciate me,’” says Jazwiec. “When you feel that your boss doesn't fully value your work, you start to care a little less. You don't provide the kind of service you would if you felt appreciated. You don't make an effort to help your coworkers. When the majority of the people in a workplace feel this way, productivity decreases, turnover increases and it can become very difficult to stay afloat, especially in a tough economy.”

To help employers get into the spirit of Thanksgiving all year round, Jazwiec offers a few tips:
1. Say thank you (obviously).*

2. Adopt an it’s-the-thought-that-counts attitude. “Sometimes you have to take into account the intentions of your boss or coworkers,” Jazwiec says. “If it is clear that they meant for something to be a way of thanking you or helping you, don't complain about how they missed the mark. Thank them for thinking of you and move on.”

3. Communicate openly and honestly. Jazwiec’s advice to supervisors: “If you feel your lack of gratitude is justified because your staff isn't living up to their potential, communicate what's missing. It's likely that you are all stuck in a negativity cycle. You are unhappy with them. They sense that and become unhappy with you. Their unhappiness leads them to give less than 100% on the job, and you become even less happy with them. If you aren't getting what you need from them, let them know. And when they start delivering, thank them for their efforts."
4. Be prepared for some kind words. Although Jazwiec acknowledges that “it seems so funny we should have to practice saying 'thank you,' but many of us just don't know how to process gratitude. So start practicing.”
5. Know that gratitude encourages repeat performances. Remember, the behavior you recognize will be repeated.

* 6. Say thank you. No, Jazwiec didn’t say this twice. I just thought it was so easy and doable (and cost-effective!) that it bore repeating.

So, along those lines, thank you for making time in your busy day to read my humble little blog. I hope you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday. No DD posts tomorrow through Friday to give turkey day the full honor it deserves. See you back here on Monday, Nov. 30.

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