Kamaria is an operations manager at a small company which produces jewelry and leather goods. The company, which consists of less than ten employees, has a transparent, open environment where gratitude can be felt and seen strongly. This open gratitude space motivates employees but can hurt productivity when gratitude is limited.
I was fortunate enough to have a coffee chat with Kamaria and hear her thoughts on her personal experience and feelings with gratitude in the small business work space.
I first asked if her personal work drive was effected by a simple “thank you.” “I always put a lot of effort into my work so being appreciate for that makes me want to continue working hard.” But that “thank you” must be genuine, as Kamaria said that if the praise is rushed or non-specific then it is not effective. “Don’t over thank someone for simple task like ‘answering emails so well.’ Be aware and specific on the task the employee is doing and thank them for that.”
Next, she talked about how during busy and stressful times more gratitude keeps her and her team motivated. As a manager, Kamaria set ups milestones for her team and makes sure to acknowledge her co-workers once they have completed one of these mile stones. Another gratitude process she notice was that while receiving or supplying a reprimand, gratitude can be used to help the feedback be more effective by giving appreciation or praise after the reprimand. However, there a clear distinction between praise given after a reprimand and praise given before. She has found it to be less than effective as:
“You just praised me to make the reprimand seem less bad. You are just trying to cover yourself and seem like a nice person. As an employee, you cannot enjoy the appreciation and as a manager, you are conditioning the employees to expect bad news after being praise.” However, she goes on to say, “but if you give praise after a reprimand then that will actually help the employees feel that they are valuable and for them move on and try again.”
Finally, Kamaria said the best way to create more gratitude in the work place is for everyone to show appreciative to everyone else. That sometimes means being the first to start and appreciate your boss. In turn, your boss will have experienced appreciation which then sparks their minds to show their employees more appreciation and that will reach you.
Kamaria's Top 5 Gratitude Tips
1. More complex tasks require more appreciation.
2. Make every attempt to deliver gratitude for specific tasks and with full attention.
3. Create gratitude milestones within projects.
4. Appreciation should always come after a reprimand and not before.
5. Be the starter and show gratitude to others first. They will notice and will supply more gratitude towards others including yourself in return.