Many businesses rely on hard skills in production and servicing their customers. By “hard skill,” it refers to tangible and measurable abilities. However, to ensure the success of a project, soft skills matter a great deal. It would be impossible to manage a team without any soft skills. Moreover, gratitude is one of the most overlooked.

Yes, being grateful is also a skill. As simple as it sounds, if we do not practice it, we can forget it, just like with other skills, like listening, speaking, making new friends, and getting along with others. One’s “gratitude muscle” must be exercised on a daily basis.

Every year, we have the opportunity to practice it to the fullest. On Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks for all the good things that we have been receiving in the past year and will continue to receive. Use this superb opportunity to build rapport with your team members.

As a communicator and a motivator, a project manager is expected to work closely with team members. You need to remain calm, positive, focused, relaxed, and flexible in the workplace so that the project can be completed in as pleasant a manner as possible. People look up to you for assurance and guidance about get things done within the project scope.

Gratitude plays a major role in increasing the team members’ morale. When the morale is high, people are more engaged, which is translated into higher productivity and better output. They also become more encouraged to help others, which management experts call as “the halo effect.” Overall, you can see a stronger team and higher quality deliverables.

Here are three proven ways to encourage gratitude among project team members:

Lead by example

Express thankfulness to all members without any exception. Gratitude by a manager means a lot to a team member, which can last longer than the momentary happiness caused by receiving a reward or a raise. There is an adage that says, “People do not forget how you make them feel.”

Be as specific as possible

Be aware of every single action that a team member did and how it helped with the progress of the project. Your gratitude should specifically mention the act that you are thankful for. Mention the contribution clearly, such as “Thank you so much for finishing this report on time.” This way, the team member would understand that you are attentive and truly care for them. A happy employee is a productive employee.

Remind every team member to be grateful for each other

Whenever you encounter a team member who is being helped by other team members, express your gratitude on his or her behalf. Using positive and encouraging words, you remind them that the team is one unit and their success is everyone’s success. Say something like this, “Jane is thankful for John’s accurate assessment of the situation.”

Last but not least, gratitude is powerful, and it does not cost a penny. As a project manager, you have a significant influence in creating a positive workplace with high morale and job satisfaction. It requires an awareness of everyone’s contribution in delivering a successful project, which you can start with being grateful, expressing it properly and specifically, and leading by example.