Why Applying Important Life Skills at Work Matters

June 18, 2015 Derek Irvine

by Derek Irvine

Recognize This! – Expressing your appreciation to others is a skill and muscle that requires practice and exercise, in all avenues of life.

I’ve many sources for inspiration for this blog, but one that has rapidly become a favorite is LinkedIn. LinkedIn has become a powerful resource for far more than recruiting leads. The amount of knowledge, insight and wisdom shared by people from across industries, jobs, roles, and functions is simply astounding.

Today, I’d like to share such insight and wisdom from two influencers who happened to appear in the same notification email earlier this week.

The "Why" of Appreciation

First, from Suzy Welch, co-author of The Real Life MBA with her husband Jack Welch, is “Three (Unprofessional) Ways to Get Ahead at Work.” I particularly enjoyed her positioning as it highlights how basic life skills (read more, express thanks, volunteer) are powerfully important in both our personal and work lives, lending to the idea of work-life blending. Speaking to the importance of writing thank you notes, Ms. Welch says:

“The best manager I’ve ever known used to keep a small piece of paper taped to her desk. “Gratitude,” it read. And gratitude she did indeed display, to each member of the team, with an authenticity and warmth that inspired nothing short of devotion from us all. But one weekend, I found out that my manager’s generosity of spirit was not a work thing. It was a life thing. Through a series of unexpected events, I ended up giving her a ride to a funeral of mutual acquaintance. Her car was in the shop; another ride fell through. I offered to help, she accepted, and when I dropped her off afterward, that was really the last I thought of it. “The next morning, though, my inbox contained a beautiful thank you note. It didn’t sound all that different from her work missives, actually. And that’s when I realized that saying thank you all the time is a discipline. It’s a practice, and a personality trait. It’s a heart thing. Do it in your off hours, and chances are, you’ll keep it going when you walk into the office. The upshot? A reputation as someone who understands that nothing good ever happens alone. Or put another way, the reputation of a natural leader.”

Expressing gratitude – sharing your appreciation for the efforts, contributions and successes of others – is a muscle that must be exercised. It really is exercising your heart. Do you need ideas on how to increase your capacity for gratitude and appreciation.

Shawn Achor (author of The Happiness Advantage) has six daily exercises (all taking less than 3 minutes) to help.

Inspiration for Appreciation

Are you not quite convinced on the importance of the? Jeff Haden shared “40 Inspiring Quotes on Feeling Grateful.” Below are my favorite five.

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." William Arthur Ward "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." G.K. Chesterton "Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy." Fred De Witt Van Amburgh "The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement." Charles Schwab "The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated." William James

What “life skills” do you find important to achieving success in the workplace, too?


About the Author

Derek Irvine

Derek is senior vice president, client strategy and consulting, at Workhuman.

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