“Dena, can you come here a sec?” my supervisor asked.

“Sure,” I replied, moving toward her office. I took a deep breath, hoping whatever she had to say was good news. Our non-profit had been under the gun for awhile, struggling to make ends meet in a volatile economy.

When I reached her desk, she said, “Have I told you lately how glad I am you’ve joined our team?”

I smiled. “Not this week,” I replied.

“Well, I am. You’re such a great addition to our group.”

“Thanks so much,” I said. “I love working here. And I’m grateful for your encouragement.”
That was an understatement.

The affirmation I received gave me energy for the rest of the day; I wanted to live up to my boss’s faith in me.

Previously, I’d worked for several different bosses, none of them as verbal in giving kudos. One supervisor, a financial wizard who saved our company from going under, repeatedly asked me to perform duties opposite my strengths, even after I asked—more than once—to be placed in roles better suited to my personality. Though he would throw a casual “thanks for all you’re doing” my way at times, I felt resentful that he didn’t respect my needs.

Another boss rarely said anything—unless it was a sarcastic jab after I’d messed up.  “Doesn’t she understand that I tried to give my all?” I’d ask myself after yet another hurtful comment. Sure, I made mistakes, but I routinely felt frustrated that she seemed to take my attempts to do my best for granted.

Later, I reflected on how my different supervisors had managed their employees. Some led by fear and intimidation; others motivated through appreciation of efforts and gentle nudges toward improvement in weak areas.

At least for me, the second approach resonated more. In a recent Fast Company article, Howard Jacobsen asserts that making gratitude a habit in your workplace could actually be a helpful business strategy. The author of Proverbs seems to agree; according to chapter 16, verse 25 (New Life Version), “The man who gives much will have much, and he who helps others will be helped himself.”

I wondered: could more gratitude make a difference in the other places I serve? Maybe my kids would respond better to my requests if I spent more time thanking them for the ways they blessed me. Perhaps the women in my Bible study group would be more apt to share freely—and do their homework—if I sent them notes of gratitude when they participated in class. Would my Facebook and Twitter friends find blessing-counting contagious?

One thing’s for sure: it sure couldn’t hurt.

“Well, that’s all I had to say,” my supervisor said, smiling again. “Keep up the good work, Dena.”

“I will,” I replied, “and thanks again.” As I walked back to my cubicle, I sighed in relief.

Image by Kelly Sauer. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Post by High Calling Welcome Editor Dena Dyer, author of Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms.

 

OTHER POSTS ON GRATITUDE:

These and This: Gratitude at the Table
Giving Thanks in a Job Search
Fifteen Happy Ways to Teach Kids to be Grateful
Eating from the Center of the PIe

Perspective

When we become Christians, we don't merely choose an eternity in heaven over hell. Rather, we are "born again"; like a newborn child, each of us enters into a new life that we fully inhabit, day-in and day-out. God desires that we pursue a relationship with him every day, in all aspects of life. When we try to live daily life for the sake of his glory, he deems it sacred.

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