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Gratitude Beyond Saying "Thank You"

Quantifying and understanding gratitude won't always come in the form of a "thank you".

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Often times when trying to figure out how to improve something, there comes a point when you have to determine how you will measure the change you wish to see. In the case of gratitude in the United States, this will often times come in the form of a thank you. Measuring “thank you’s” and prompting “thank you’s” can be a simple way to operationalize gratitude, but is it always effective? In the same way that different people have different communication styles (i.e. direct, indirect), people could also have different gratitude styles. It may be natural for some people to throw out the phrase “thank you” whenever they want, but for others, it is a shallow and artificial way to show their gratitude. I feel that in coming up with ways to improve gratitude in the workplace, it should be imperative to operationalize gratitude in many different ways besides verbal expressions. For example, being more likely to handle favors for others is one way that gratitude can show itself. If a person has been helped before, they are then more likely to help themselves. Simply finding out the multiple ways that people show gratitude could give more dimension to the idea of increasing gratitude in the workplace, as well as have some unintended benefits.

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Cassidy Gardner, student at the University of Michigan.

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