Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
The holiday season is a special time for your staff for many reasons, not the least of which is the opportunity to be with their families and have some much-needed time off. As wonderful as this time of year is, it is also very stressful. We are always concerned with buying just the right present, making sure the food is perfect, and just creating a wonderful holiday experience, in general.
With all that is going on this time of year, I think it is important to take some time to show your staff you appreciate them.
To me, being grateful is acknowledging that we are lucky or blessed to have good things in our lives. Every individual has to define their own "good things," but I believe the more gratitude we perceive, the better our lives and our staff's lives are.
Sometimes people have a hard time finding things to be grateful for, but they are all around us. Sometimes you just have to look deeper.
For example, after coming back from walking the Camino de Santiago, I developed a knee injury called patella chondromalacia. The injury is caused by overuse, when the cartilage under the knee cap (patella) gets damaged. The damage did not keep me from finishing the 250-mile walk, but I had a tough time going up stairs. The orthopedic surgeon said I just needed to rest it and have physical therapy. Then one morning about
a week after returning from the Camino, I took our dogs out for their early walk and tripped over the leashes in the dark and broke my arm.
Having a bum knee and a broken arm at the same time could have been a real pain (pardon the pun), but with some reflection, I was able to find something to be grateful for. I realized these physical issues were a reminder to slow down and not fall into the same hectic pace I was keeping before I left for the Camino.
Having an attitude of gratitude makes all the difference in our lives. It is also important to remember to show the people we are grateful for how much they mean to us, and the holidays are the perfect time to tell our staff how much we value them.
There are many ways you can show your appreciation. This time of year, a party or celebration is a great idea. Be sure to include family on the invitation as a way to show you appreciate them sacrificing precious time with their family member to help your business or organization.
Another neat thing you can do is write each staff member who reports directly to you a hand-written note saying why you are grateful they are on your team. This does take time, but it does not cost anything. It is a small gesture that I have seen make such a difference.
In today's work environment, staff is not told enough that they are appreciated. You can start to change that this holiday season.
If you are struggling to find things to be grateful for, try keeping a list of five things you are grateful for every day for two weeks without repeating anything. Having to look for things to be grateful for every day works incredibly well.
Jerry Osteryoung, a business consultant, is a Jim Moran professor of entrepreneurship (emeritus) and professor of finance (emeritus) at Florida State University. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.