Having an Attitude of Gratitude

Pen and notepad
By Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT

Last year was a trying year for everyone. We are all craving to re-establish what will be our “new normal.”

Clearly, we have learned something from our individual and collective experiences. We know that we need to be better, kinder, and more supportive than we have ever been.

As I have started traveling once again to practices around the country and doing onsite consultations, I have noticed that some practice owners have used the past year’s COVID-pause to come up with new and innovative models, and some just worked hard to survive! Regardless of where your practice fell on the spectrum of surviving to thriving, I think most of us have learned a lesson of the significance of creating a kinder culture in our practices!

Many owners and managers that I speak to from around the country are more reflective about the importance of each of their team members and they are looking to continue to maintain and build upon a culture of compassion in their workplace. There is gratitude for the people who remained strong and steady through 2020’s ups and downs and beyond!


  1. Take a gratitude break.
    During meetings, or lunch save a few minutes for team members to share a quick appreciation. Don’t overthink it.
  2. Implement peer-to-peer recognition programs
    Encourage employees to recognize other members of the team and colleagues who made a difference for them in the recent past. Set up a more formal 2021 Recognition Luncheon and invite everyone to nominate their colleagues.
  3. Provide small gifts to share
    Provide a few gift cards that each employee has access to. Have them share a gift card with people who made life easier or better for them at work in the past year.
  4. Write personalized thank you notes to your team and their families
    Sometimes the best gratitude comes in small doses: a little thank you note of two or three sentences. Writing thank you notes to not only your staff but their spouses and children for sharing in both the struggles and the victories in the past year leaves a wonderful impression.
  5. Participate in a 30-day gratitude challenge
    Offer a white board, chalk board, or shared message space where your team is invited to share what they are grateful for each day for a full month. It is a nice way to lift everyone up and remind them of positive things.
  6. Celebrate World Gratitude Day on Sept. 21
    Plan to mark this special day and cultivate culture of gratitude at your practice.

Lynn Steffes

Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT, is president and consultant of Steffes & Associates, a national rehabilitation consulting group focused on marketing and program development for private practices nationwide. She is an instructor in five physical therapy programs and has actively presented, consulted, and taught in 40 states. She can be reached at steffbiz@gmail.com.

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