A lot of the advice that helps us do well at work can equally be applied at home, and vice versa. Good advice is good advice, after all. Here’s one such piece of advice: express your sincere appreciation to those around you. Whether you’re a partner at a law firm working with a junior lawyer or the spouse of a workaholic, there are two simple things you can say that will work wonders.
AT WORK: “I appreciate you”
I was in my first year of lawyering. I was working on a big transaction with lots of moving parts. The lead lawyer and I had been working late into the evenings for weeks. We were both under-slept and running out of steam.
One day, after a particularly long conference call which made it clear that neither of us would be going home before dark, I stood in the doorway of her office and scribbled down notes as she gave me instructions on what needed to be done before morning. When she finished, she scanned her desk to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything. Once satisfied, she looked up and saw I was mirroring her own exhaustion. After a moment, she opened her mouth to speak. I instinctively moved my penned hand back up to my notepad, expecting more details about my assignments. Instead, she just said, “I appreciate you.”
AT HOME: “Thanks for working so hard for us”
After years of working too many long hours and sacrificing too much sleep in the process, I was burning out. My husband, Steve, had a more traditional 9 to 5 job and was often in the position of putting Humpty Dumpty (me) back together again after I’d run myself ragged. One Friday night, after being told I had to work over the weekend (a long weekend, no less) I came home to share the devastating news with Steve. We’d been looking forward to spending the weekend together, so this was a blow for both of us.
Steve put aside his own disappointment and listened patiently as I vented, complained, and even cried. Then, he snuggled me close and, in his most loving tone, said, “Thanks for working so hard for us.”
I appreciate you and Thanks for working so hard for us won’t solve anything. It won’t give you your weekend back or make anyone less tired. But it will make your co-worker or spouse feel valued. Expressing appreciation requires a minimum amount of effort but can have a huge impact.
And for those of you working with millennials, it might just be the most powerful tool in your toolkit.
Try it. Tell someone you appreciate them. Let me know how it goes. And if you’ve read this far, please know that I APPRECIATE YOU!
If you’ve found this useful, please share it with a friend.
Tell me your appreciation stories – what other words or actions show appreciation – I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or on Twitter (@nellymosstag).
Until next time, stay safe and healthy,