I recently had a conversation with a friend and colleague of mine who began to challenge me when I remarked that I was upset with the way today’s society seems to be getting away from the niceties of everyday life, specifically a lack of giving thanks. He said that if I was looking for thanks, my actions were not authentic or true, and that I was only doing something because I wanted to be acknowledged.
I thanked him for his opinion, and then went to ponder why someone would possibly defend what I see as a serious downturn in social etiquette. I have always made an attempt to be thankful to others, especially at work when I managed accident benefits claims adjusters. They have, in my opinion, one of the hardest and most demanding jobs in insurance. Constantly facing difficult situations and individuals, changing legislation, and having to combat fraud in an ever changing environment, the job can be a thankless one much of the time.
I have always felt that, by thanking someone, it is my way of showing appreciation and respect for what they have said or done, no matter how small. I also take delight in knowing that my thanks likely in turn gives them a feeling of pride and satisfaction that may translate into them having a better day and in turn doing something nice for someone else. It’s an easy way to start “paying it forward“, and can start a chain reaction of positivity in your claims department.
But is there more to a simple “thank you” than my totally-unscientifically-proven belief? I began to do some research, and would like to share my top 5 findings. As it turns out, a simple “thank you” can:
1. provide someone what they need and want to hear. This short Ted Talk by Laura Trice reminds us of the importance of genuine praise.
2. provide a psychological benefit, resulting in greater levels of optimism, positive mood, and feelings of belongingness.
3. motivate employees and create a positive work environment. Beyond money, it is the thing that employees want most from their employer, and will ultimately help make you a better leader.
4. instill a heightened sense of self-worth, which in turn may trigger continued helpful behavior(s) toward the person you are helping, as well as other people too (a great segue to my final point).
5. help us change the world. The simple way to a utopian society was explained to us by Haley Joel Osment’s character Trevor, in this movie from 2000.
For all of these benefits, and the many others not listed, why wouldn’t you try to make saying “thank you” a regular part of your day? I don’t know that there is any simpler way that you can positively have an impact on those around you, in your personal and business world, or on yourself.