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Recognizing the Magnitude of Gratitude

A significant portion of the workforce is feeling more overwhelmed than usual, thanks to the invisible viral enemy that has impacted every part of our lives.

While the world still has some uphill climbing to do before we defeat this pandemic, we do have an opportunity to take a bit of time during the Thanksgiving holiday to express our gratitude for the people and blessings in our lives. It’s a balm to the soul to not only feel gratitude, but to openly express it to others. The more we actively and intentionally show our thankfulness, the easier and more natural it becomes. I would challenge you to extend your gratitude well past the point of saying grace over the holiday table, long after the turkey is carved, the pie is consumed and the naps have commenced. It is entirely possible to feel like the challenges are too great at times…yet still be able to find ways to demonstrate how much you appreciate others.

In this look at the impact of gratitude in the workplace as expressed through the thoughts of some of our Milestone Leadership team members, you’ll find some interesting perspectives. Teams are stretched especially thin right now, and showing appreciation for the contributions of others can be affirming and energizing.


How does showing gratitude or thankfulness towards others impact team health during a time of challenge or crisis in the workplace?

“Sincere expressions of gratitude or thankfulness lift the spirits of both the giver and the receiver. Those spirit-lifting moments are more important than ever during a time of challenge or crisis. It’s easy to lose energy and motivation when the going gets especially hard. Rallying together and cheering each other on can help the team stay strong.” – Sandy Tush, Milestone Partner:

“Gratitude can be infectious—like a fuel booster for a team. When people feel genuinely appreciated by their teammates or boss, they are likely to go the extra mile. Conversely, when people feel less than acknowledged, they are more likely to do as little as possible.” –Erik Dees, Milestone Partner

“I think gratitude is more important right now than ever before. We are all experiencing a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety both at work and at home, due to the pandemic. When someone is thankful for my work right now, even when I know I can’t put as much energy or effort into as I normally would, I am so grateful. I feel their compassion and understanding, and it motivates me to continue pushing forward even when it’s a bit more challenging than normal. It feels like we’re in this together versus working on an island where it’s all up to me.  Expressing gratitude is a sign of support, and support from the team during a crisis is essential to a healthy team.” –Stephanie Brown, Operations Manager

“For me, being part of a team is a lot like being in a relationship—and it isn’t always a 50/50 give and take. Sometimes you have to give more. I find that showing gratitude toward my teammates helps them to feel as if we are in it together and they can complete the challenges they are facing.” –Micayla Christensen, Soderquist Fellow


Describe a way someone demonstrated gratitude toward you and how did it inspire you to pay it forward?

“When I think about it, someone demonstrating gratitude towards me does not necessarily inspire me to pay it forward as much as it encourages me to continue.  A word of gratitude has often been the pick-me-up I needed to cross the finish line on a project—or withstand a hard season.” Alex Cornett, Milestone Partner

“I feel affirmed and motivated each time I receive a thank you note from a co-worker or customer. I keep two files—a physical file for cards and notes and an electronic file for emails—that are labeled ‘uplifting notes’. I try to use that positive feeling that I have when I receive one of these to keep me motivated to express my appreciation to others. Sometimes I get lazy with that, so thinking about it right now is convincing me to get back with it!” – Sandy

“Many years ago, I had a person whom I had trained for a job wrote a very personal letter to my boss describing how effective my training was for him. This came long after he left the company, but the thoughtful act greatly impacted me. His letter was read by all of my senior leaders and I was well appreciated publicly. As a result of that experience, I have made it a point to celebrate the excellent efforts of others wherever they may occur. As an example, when I have a great server experience at a restaurant, I truly enjoy telling a manager how effective their employee is.” –Erik

“I can think of several times someone has expressed gratitude for my work on a project—and it typically causes me to consider all of the support I received to make my own contribution successful. That recognition leads me to show gratitude toward those other people and their efforts, and not keep all of the praise for myself.” –Stephanie

“The Milestone team frequently praises and thanks one another for the work we do. When this is done for me, it encourages me to spread this praise and thanks to the others on my team, as well. This creates a positive chain reaction, allowing a space in the work environment for constant uplifting.” –Micayla


From all of us at Milestone Leadership, we are grateful to our friends, partners, participants and colleagues for inspiring us every single day. We wish you a very happy, healthy Thanksgiving holiday.


Written by: Kelly Syer, Milestone Associate

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