Ask A Coach: Why is it important to say “Thank you”?

Jeannie Denuo ’84
Meet Jeannie on IrishCompass

There are reasons, beyond the manners we were taught growing up, that speak to the benefits of expressing gratitude in the workplace, and these reasons are now backed by research. Here are my top three reasons to show your appreciation at work, and some tips to use when you do. 

First, expressing gratitude makes our work more human and not just transactional. People want to feel valued, to be seen for what they contribute, to feel needed. Being appreciated is motivating and enhances engagement. 

Second, creating a culture of gratitude is an important part of creating a sense of belonging, of being a part of something bigger. I become motivated to do good work because I am invested in all of us.  

Third, gratitude encourages compassion. We roll better when things get tough or mistakes are made. Negativity has a hard time surviving in a culture of gratitude. 

Here are some pro tips on saying thank you:

  • Be specific: “Thank you for taking a part of your weekend to get all of the details right.”
  • Do it for the ordinary as well as extraordinary: “Thanks for always being on time, I appreciate that I can count on you.”
  • Thank you should go both ways. Thank your manager for making a project clear, offering support, seeking your input. 
  • There is more than one way to say thank you: face to face, a Post-It note on someone’s computer, an email, or even an occasional treat. Try them all.

Expressing gratitude at work might be uncomfortable at first. Just practice. It will become easier and the rewards will surprise you. Gratitude is contagious!

In a November 2019 Forbes article titled “The Business of Gratitude,” contributor Eric Mosely writes, “The more gratitude going around, the more human connections are being made, and the more collaboration, engagement, and innovation across the organization.”

Interested in learning more? Search “gratitude in the workplace” and prepare to settle in for a while. 


Jeannie Denuo '84, CPCC, PCC, is an Executive Coach committed to helping individuals create meaningful relationships in their work organizations and their families. She also coaches in the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s career coaching program.

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