Do you want to avoid workplace claims?  One great place to start is with gratitude. 

In so many employment cases we see, the underlying issue is someone feeling under-appreciated.  Employees who feel under valued will use that paradigm to view other workplace issues, and to interpret borderline situations in a way that is unhelpful to their employer.  Yet employees who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to cut their employers some slack, to remember their managers are human and make mistakes, and not to judge them on their worst episodic behavior. 

How can employers practice gratitude at work?  Here are some simple suggestions whether you are in management or simply what a call a lower-case “L” leader:

  • Say thank you 10x more than you provide correction.
  • Take a minute to connect with your colleagues on a personal level, especially if you know they may be having a hard time.
  • If someone gives you feedback that you don’t necessarily agree with, fight the urge to be defensive, and thank them for sharing their perspective.
  • Amplify your team members’ successes and shine a spotlight on them.
  • Thank people who go out of their way to help you, or to excel, even if it is their job to do so. 

I always think back to a client of mine that had very few lawsuits and remained non-union in an industry and locale surrounded by union workers.  The owners built strong connections with their workforce by having every manager and supervisor line up at the end of each shift, look each employee in the eye, shake their hand, and thank them for a job well done that day. 

When I train managers on how to recognize and prevent workplace claims, I advise them to recall the best supervisor they ever had.  Someone who pushed them to succeed, yet supported them when they stumbled.  Someone who didn’t blame them when things went south, but helped them fix it.  Someone who led by example. I encourage them to strive to be that best supervisor every single day. 

I also think back to times when I was struggling on a personal level and my work colleagues backed me up, conveyed their appreciation for my contributions, and checked in on me. There is so much going on in the world these days that is stressful.  Politics is so divisive.  Focusing on commonalities even with those you might disagree with on some issues is key. 

The bottomline is that relationships tethered in gratitude are key to building loyalty, and loyalty means less claims (and maybe less conflict at your Thanksgiving dinner table too)!

Oh and thank you for reading this blog!