A Simple Strategy to Build Team Unity

When I was working in an overseas ministry, I wanted to grow in my friendship with my co-workers, both my peers and my leadership. To do this, I opened Evernote and started a note with everyone’s name on it. Then below each name I put bullet points with traits about them that I either was thankful for or admired about them. From then on, whenever I got the chance, I would try to compliment them or thank them.

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The result, however, wasn’t what I expected. I thought I would be changing their lives, but it was really me that was changing. I really became more thankful for them, and enjoyed telling them so. Hopefully, this also made me a better person to work with and be around.

I believe that one of the best things you can do for your company, team, staff, family, spouse, church, school, etc. is to exude an attitude of thankfulness.

What is thankfulness and how do I instill it in others?

I would describe being thankful is showing appreciation, either personally or publicly, for something done or something you have.

But why should I be thankful for my employees? It’s their job, They MUST do their work, right?

Wrong. They don’t have to work for you. Oh sure, there will be setbacks for them if they leave their job, but odds are they’ll be able to find another one. Maybe even a better one. Then you’re stuck with filling a position and training someone entirely new. But expressing thanks to your employees and volunteers helps build confidence and retain staff. Doesn’t it make sense that people will want to stay and work hard for someone that appreciates them.

It’s even more vital for you if you’re a Christian. Think about all the places in Scripture that pop into your mind about being thankful. The opposite of thankfulness is ungratefulness, which leads to complaining. In fact, this is the reason that God punished the entire people of Israel to wander the dessert for 40 years, keeping them out of their Promised Land.

How to do it.

To train others to be thankful you must first train yourself. If you want your children to be thankful people, they need to see you be thankful. You are the leader. Just as the vision for the company trickles down from you, so does a culture of thankfulness. Some ideas are:
  • Show it to your team. Express your thanks to everyone when you accomplish company goals.
  • Show it to individuals. If you can publicly thank someone in front of the rest of the staff, do so. Just as wrongs must be publicly addressed, so should people who do their job well.
  • Take up a special challenge. One of my college teachers gave an assignment for the entire class to write an encouraging note to three people before the next day.  Everyone was amazed at how fun it was to send encouragement to another. That’s part of being thankful. Find creative ways to promote thankfulness amongst your staff.
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