Any leader will tell you that good communication can be the engine that powers a successful organization. Leaders keep a few high-octane phrases in their toolbox to drive better communication: I appreciate what you bring to the team. Can I get your take on this? I take responsibility.
But there’s one workplace communication that carries extra power: saying thank you. Showing appreciation and value are critical to building camaraderie and trust, and any of us could stand to be liberal with our usage.
What takes a thank you to the next level, though, is specificity. Specificity shows that you fully see and understand your colleague’s efforts, and it adds a personal touch that enhances trust.
Here are 21 ways to say thank you — for just about any workplace situation.
Thanks yous for employees to their managers
1. You were instrumental in the success of a project that was a big win for the company. In announcing the project to an all-staff meeting, your manager specifically mentioned your work on it instead of taking all of the credit and praise.
You could say: Thank you so much for calling out my role in the project’s success — many people at the company don’t have visibility into my role, and it was so validating.
2. In your quarterly review, your manager gave you highly specific compliments and helpful, constructive notes.
Try: It’s really rare to have a boss take the time to give such personal and specific reviews. You clearly really see me and my work and care about my success here. Thank you.
3. You mentioned to your manager that you were interested in learning more about the legal processes at your company. They remembered, and several weeks later, they set you up on a meeting with the head of legal so you could ask questions and get more involved.
Try: I know you’re so busy with your work, and I recognize that it takes extra effort and energy to consistently keep my goals in mind, so thank you!
4. A frustrated coworker cc’s your manager on an email, claiming you made a mistake on a report that cost the company money. Instead of jumping down your throat, your manager asks you to talk through the situation. Together, you confirm that you never made a mistake in the first place!
Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt and the chance to give you context before assuming I was wrong.
5. In a variation on #4, let’s say you and your manager realize you did, in fact, make a mistake. You’re nervous, but your boss calmly sits with you to make a plan to course-correct.
Thank you for sticking with me and helping find a solution. I take responsibility for the mistake, and it means a ton to me to have your backup.
Articles you might also like:
- 6 Ways to Keep Employees Engaged This Holiday Season
- 30+ Jobs Hiring Now in California (by Region)
- How (and Why) to Successfully Upskill Employees
- 60+ (Actually Thoughtful) Compliments to Give Your Coworkers
Coworker-to-coworker thank yous
6. You mismanaged your time and were scrambling to meet a deadline. Your least favorite colleague mentioned it to another coworker, and instead of ratting you out, they offered to help you get caught up.
You could say: I know you didn’t have to do that, so thank you so much for the help. Next time, I’ll manage my time better, and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you ever get behind!
7. You’ve always admired your coworker’s ability to build expert and efficient spreadsheets. They offered to spend their lunch break one day teaching you how to do them, too.
This is so helpful, and I’m so grateful you gave up your time to teach me!
8. Your coworker noticed that you were rubbing someone the wrong way without meaning to. They pulled you aside to give you a gentle note from a third-party perspective.
I would have never known I was doing that and I’m so grateful that you pointed it out so I can make a change.
9. Your manager notices that you’re under the weather and encourages you to take time to fully unplug and rest, assuring you that they will make sure your work is covered so you don’t have to worry.
I appreciate you pushing me to care for myself. I have a hard time admitting I’m too unwell to work, and I always worry that I’ll seem like I’m slacking off. Thanks for reminding me that my health is most important.
10. You were approached for your dream job at a different company. You were afraid to tell your boss that you were applying, but when you did, your boss was fully supportive and offered to give you a glowing recommendation.
I’m so grateful for your support. You’ve played such a massive role in arming me with the skills for this new job, and I value my time working with you so much.
11. You were feeling overwhelmed and starting to get frustrated. Your coworker suggested taking a quick walk together outside to grab a coffee and reset.
Stepping outside for a minute helped me snap out of my funk so I could get back to work. Thanks for encouraging me to take a minute for myself.
12. You were instrumental in a massive win for the company. Your coworker organized a happy hour with a few others to celebrate your contribution.
It means so much that you recognize my role in this project — I’m not senior enough to be invited to the client dinner. I love getting to celebrate with you all!
13. You snapped at your coworker in a moment of stress, and now you feel awful. You offered them a heartfelt apology and explained that you’ve been under a lot of stress. They forgave you immediately and told you that you’re doing a great job and deserve to relax a little.
Thank you for being so understanding and compassionate. I promise I’ll work on managing my stress in a way that doesn’t negatively impact those around me.
Thank yous for managers to their reports
14. Your direct report noticed that a big fundraising event you were planning would fall on a holiday weekend. They came to you with three other potential dates and the cost of switching the date.
Thank you for coming to me with a solution rather than a problem! It was my mistake choosing that date, and I appreciate your help fixing it.
15. A member of your team called out with a family emergency in the middle of a hectic week. Your report picked up that team member’s work without being asked, and your team made its deadline.
I know we were so busy all week, and we had no time to check in. But I saw how seamlessly you took on more work in an already-slammed week. Thank you — you really took care of the team, and we would have struggled without you.
16. You’re in back-to-back meetings and know you’ll be late for a client call. Your report kicks the call off for you, keeping the client happy and buying you some time.
Thank you for covering for me! I’m so proud that you can step into a higher role when needed. I’ll remember these moments for your review.
17. Your employee sent you an email explaining that they have been totally underwater and are going to miss an internal deadline in the following weeks. They sent a proposed new deadline and asked for your approval.
Thank you for letting me know. I value that you had the foresight to call this out now rather than missing the deadline.
18. Your report has been incredibly efficient and communicative, and your client is impressed.
I want to thank you for consistently being so on top of your work. Both the client and I are noticing your contributions. You’re contributing so positively to our company’s reputation!
An employee to the office antagonist
19. A co-worker who always seems to be on your case points out a typo in front of the conference room during your presentation.
You’re so right. Thanks for catching that! (And then move on with a smile.)
20. The office bully volunteers you to do a ton of busy work that’s being passed off from person to person.
Thanks for thinking of me for this — you know I love to help out when I can. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to take this on with my current workload.
21. A coworker you’ve had issues with asks you to go to lunch to hash things out. You both air out some grievances, share apologies, and leave feeling like you’re both on the same page.
I’m so grateful that you initiated this conversation. It was really big of you to take the first step, and I appreciate that you helped us get back on the right track.