Everyone wants to feel seen and validated. It’s one of the most basic human needs. It’s also true of all relationships, whether they’re between family members, friends, or co-workers. One of the places people are most likely to feel invisible is at work. How unfortunate as most of us spend far more time at work than with our family and friends. Yet companies often struggle to improve employee morale, when it can be as simple as making people feel seen and appreciated.

The simple truth is that the best way to make our colleagues feel appreciated is to start showing appreciation … duh, right?  But how often do we spend showing gratitude to our colleagues? What percentage of time do we spend criticizing or judging vs. expressing appreciation for one another?  We get what we give. Although many look to leadership for guidance and recognition, acknowledgment and validation should be owned by everyone. It should be embedded in the very fiber of every culture, at all levels.

When people on the same team start to show respect and admiration for one another, people’s engagement and overall life satisfaction skyrockets. Instead of embracing a tone of grievance and why-me, find strengths in people (everyone has them) and opportunities in challenges. What a simple way to strengthen team confidence, self-esteem, and trust!

In self-help circles, showing gratitude has long been a proven mode for healing. Everyone from psychotherapists to 12-Step programs prescribes gratitude lists to those who feel like something is missing in their lives.  People who actively show appreciation and gratitude simply tend to be happier – period. Starting to show gratitude can also be infectious. Through small, individual, consistent acts of kindness and gratitude, entire corporate cultures can change.