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Saying 'thank you' strengthens our gratitude muscles

Gratitude and appreciation - Not the same thing but equally important for a healthy workplace

Photo of Lotta
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I was not sure of the difference between gratitude and appreciation so I had to look it up:

Oxford English Dictionary, the word gratitude means "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness." The word appreciation is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as "the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something."

So being grateful is a quality within us, and if I am grateful, I am able to show appreciation to someone or something. Right?

Currently, I work with supporting governmental organisations in East Africa in a change process. I often find employees lack motivation to do a good job, and even less to stretch themselves, or even do any job. Why? Various reasons such as lack of leadership that sets the direction and provides feedback on how things are going. AND totally lack of showing appreciation. We talk about performance and how it might relate to their organisations' culture and key issues such as communication, attitude towards risk-taking and failure, and motivation. When we talk about appreciation, and I ask how many recently have experienced a 'thank you' from a colleague or manager, they all shake their heads. Some are almost in tears. 

The words 'thank you' are worth gold. It touches on a deep need of being seen, understood and appreciated for who we are (or what we have done - performed). 

Using 'thank you' is a way of practising our gratitude muscles.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Lotta, and I live and work in Bangkok since a year. Before that I lived in Tanzania where I also partly grew up. I work with organisational development and social behavioural change communication. I am also practising mindfulness and aspire to help others get on this path.

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Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Lotta ,

Great to have you in the challenge, and diving into such an important topic--especially with your internationakl expertise! Thank you for sharing your story. Have you experienced workplaces where gratitude is a cultural value that is made a priority internally? How have you seen this change across cultures and countries you have lived in?

Also, is there any chance you could find an image to go along with your post? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there.

Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.