The holidays are here again and I'm going to give you a gift suggestion. It's something that's sure to be appreciated and it will cost you nothing...but time. It is the gift of appreciation. If you ask people what they really want, what would really make them feel good at work, they will probably tell you that they want to feel appreciated. They want to know that they are needed and wanted. They want to be liked for who they are, not just what they can do or how much money they can bring in. I believe that a part of the reason that employees keep looking for more perks, bonuses and salary increases is because they are trying to fill a void. They are looking for proof that they matter. Giving the gift of gratitude is also a gift you give yourself. When you let people know what you appreciate about them, you get more of it. Ok, I've given you some time to get your thoughts together, go out and buy some nice stationary, and put your sentiments down on paper. Don't just jot down some generic compliment. Dig deep down, really think about what's important and what makes the other person special. If you do a good job, it will be something that they take out and read when you disappoint or upset them. It will remind them that you really care and that you're worth another chance. There are not too many gifts that give as much joy as a letter telling you how much you're valued and appreciated. We are all making our way through life the best we can. No one gets up in the morning planning to make mistakes and everyone wants to be held in high esteem. For some reason it's not easy to express our heartfelt thoughts to others. We assume that they know how we feel. We complain much easier than we compliment. Get in the habit of giving the gift of gratitude. By the way, this is a gift that anyone can give. You don't have to be the boss to express appreciation. Staff members can tell their boss why they are special to them. Tell each other, jot down a little note for the lab delivery guy, your sales rep, the lady who cleans the office. Tell your patients that you love seeing their name on the schedule. Make someone's day. Give the best gift there is, to them and yourself.