Why is it that while we are growing up, we are consistently reminded to say "please" and "thank you," and when we become adults, we are so quick to forget these important words? A thank-you letter in response to one of my reviews (the first one I've ever got) made my day. It expressed gratitude for the time I invested into seeing the play and writing about it and touched upon a few things that worked well in my review. Consequently, it reminded me that I'm good at what I do and that what I do matters. Why are those pleasant moments of appreciation so rare?
If you ask me, I think it is because we tend to perceive criticism as a guide for improvement. Hence, we criticize freely. In many instances, we mean nothing bad. We just want the other person to look better, to achieve more, to polish his or her skills, and so on. When someone does something well, there is no need for improvement, and we feel that we have nothing to say. Except "thank you." Sometimes. Have you ever wondered why there are many more negative Yelp reviews than positive ones? Liking a restaurant encourages the customer to come back, while disliking it leaves no other option but complaining.
It is a shame, however, that we do not take advantage of the wondrous power of "thank you" and other words of appreciation. They do magic. They inspire people and bring them closer. They bring meaning into people's actions and put smiles on their faces. An employee who feels appreciated at his or her job will put in more effort and be more productive. Neglect and fear of failure often disable a person's talent, for he or she will be afraid or reluctant to go the extra mile, to make suggestions or put their soul into work. It damages both the employee and the employer.
Therefore, do not hold back the words of appreciation. Say "thank you" for good deeds and words that come your way. Elaborate on what it is that you find especially useful, well-done, or efficient. It is so easy and so harmful for everyone involved to make someone feel taken for granted. Do not hold back the power that will unleash the magic - and wait to see how much good comes out of it.