Say something nice to a co-worker

I got this email out of the blue from a lady called Valerie:

I recently started reading Happy Hour is from 9 to 5. I decided to make it a goal this week to write a personal note of sincere appreciation to each of my co-workers (and my boss). This was particularly easy for the most part as I have great co-workers … except for one that is challenging.

Nonetheless, I did this and it’s nice to see everybody, even “crabby pants” with a smile on their face. In fact, my boss told me today that he took his note home and put it up on his refrigerator.

I asked Valerie what the reactions were, and she followed up yesterday with this:

Two co-workers sent emails to me, telling how much they enjoyed their notes, proceeding into things they like about me. I replied to both persons that I was not fishing for compliments, but thanked them for their kind responses. One of the emails came from “crabby pants.”

As I presented each person with their note, I said, “I made myself a promise this week to give a note to each of my co-workers to express something I appreciate about each of you.” I then just left the note and walked away.

In the end, I think the person most touched by my note was a 50 something co-worker preparing for her youngest of four boys to leave the nest. It became evident to me several months ago that she had the onset of empty nest syndrome. She seems to be inadvertently hovering over everybody, spoon feeding information like we can’t possibly do our jobs on our own. My note to her was a simple expression of how I appreciate her calm demeanor and how much her presence is the glue that holds our group together when things are getting a little insane.

The greatest reward in giving the notes wasn’t receiving compliments in return. It was the noticeable difference of facial expressions as I passed by those same people later.

I am making Happy Hour is 9 to 5 required reading for my husband and plan to anonymously get a copy of it put on our COOs desk.

Thanks Valerie – you rock for doing this. I love this kind of thing and it just goes to show that small gestures can really make a difference. Could you try this in your workplace? Have you already done something similar? Write a comment – I’d love to know what you think.

9 thoughts on “Say something nice to a co-worker”

  1. Hi! This is a great web i’v landed on to and i LOVE ur idea of a Chief Happiness Officer! I found this spreading niceness idea extremely workable, and have planned a version of it to execute at office on Monday, after we join back from Eid hols (I live in Karachi). I shall let you know of the outcome, meanwhile will keep bouncing on this newly discovered landing :)

  2. Well, we’ve all been crabby pants sometimes. Maybe all we need is someone pointing out our better qualities to help us become the best version of ourselves. Positive reinforcement doesn’t just have to flow from the top down. We can do it for each other as this exercise shows!


  3. It'[s true, “All about me” means how we interact with our environment and how we make choices how to interact with and react to the people around us. What a wonderful goal.

  4. It’s a great idea – so often in the workplace we’re pushed for time, under pressure, working to a deadline, and a lot of the inter-personal communication can become curt, to the point and not really how we’d usually express ourselves –

    A note of appreciation can redress the balance on this front.


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