You love your colleagues, right? Seriously, they make your day. (Well, most of them.) But do they know that? According to writer Peter Economy, praising your co-workers can result in numerous positive changes for you, including stress reduction, an increase in empathy, and even better health. Also, showing gratitude at work increases team morale and makes you (and those around you) happier. While that all sounds obvious, not enough people put it into practice.
Use these simple tips to show your co-workers just how happy you are to work at the same company. Sure they’re basic, but they’re also the first things people forget about when their to-do list is growing and they have a million and one things to get done.
1. Write a Note
The other day when I got to work, there was a handwritten note waiting for me. When the mail you’re used to getting is primarily bills, junk mail, and catalogs, it’s exciting to get an actual letter!
In fact, I keep the thank you notes displayed at my desk so that when I’m having a tough day at work, I can quickly take a look and boost my mood.
2. Give Credit
Say you’re in a meeting or on an email thread and someone mentions a successful project you’ve worked on. If the project was a team effort, mention all of the members who helped make it a success. Explain what they did and how they directly contributed to the outcome. If there are too many names or contributions and it starts looking like an Academy Awards speech, even a brief, “The entire marketing team was invaluable!” goes a long way.
3. Give Positive Feedback
Recognize and praise people’s accomplishments when you see (or hear about) them. It doesn’t haven’t to be in a long, melodramatic email—just saying it aloud can do the trick. Include specific examples that explain why you were impressed, and how the effort benefits you, your team, the company, or clients.
4. Tell the Boss
You’re not the boss? Well, you can still put in a good word and let the person who determines your co-worker’s salary, promotion, and assignments know that he’s done an outstanding job. While you hope your teammate’s managing up and regularly sharing his accomplishments, it bolsters someone’s claims when his manager hears the same positive news from someone else.
For example, my supervisor recently shared with me that he’d emailed two people on the management team to tell them how much he loves working with me. I was so proud: It made my week!
5. Offer to Help
If your teammate’s overwhelmed with work, offer to help. Yes, it may mean that you stay a little later (and miss that show you really wanted to watch), but it will show your co-worker that you’re available when needed.
Facing a slow day at work? If you finally have downtime in your schedule, email your team and see if anyone needs your assistance. Be the person who is willing to step in and print reports, staple presentations, and do the less glamorous projects that still need to get done. People will appreciate it—and be more likely to repay the favor when you’re in a bind!
6. Accept Constructive Criticism
Constructive criticism is not fun, per se. But if you really listen to what the other person has to say (or read what he or she has typed in an email)—as opposed to getting defensive—he’ll feel validated. Sure, it’s hard to hear tough feedback, but your co-worker is only taking the time to provide it because he genuinely wants to help you improve. By considering his suggestions, you’ll be demonstrating that you appreciate his perspective.
7. Put Your Co-worker First, the Work Second
It’s so incredibly simple, yet something that’s often overlooked. When you email someone asking if she has added slides to a presentation, kick it off by asking how her weekend was. It’ll make working together more enjoyable and it’ll show that you appreciate your teammates as actual human beings—not just people who are good at their jobs.
8. Start a Tradition
Company traditions increase bonding and team morale. You can ask anyone who works at a tradition-filled company and you’ll discover that it’s true. For example, at my job we choose a Kudos King or Queen at every team meeting. When you nominate someone, you have to mention the core value he portrays, something specific he did, and how it affected you, the team, a client, or the success of a project.
9. Say Thank You
This one is so obvious that it should go without saying—but just in case you need the reminder: The simplest way to show appreciation is to say “thank you.” The trick is to mention something specific and explain how someone’s efforts impacted you and—ideally—the company.
For example, rather than stop at, “Thank you so much for all of your hard work with the client kickoff,” continue with, “The client was so impressed with the exercises you put together. They really helped to start the relationship off on a positive note!”
So, start implementing these nine tips today. Not only will your co-workers feel more appreciated, but you may soon find that you’re feeling less stressed and healthier yourself. And wouldn’t that be nice?