Gratitude in the Workplace
Submitted by Mark Hallman – Written by Kathie Must
October is the month of thanksgiving and gratitude. With most adults spending more time at work than anywhere else, the workplace can be a good avenue to direct some of this positive thinking!
Although the pay cheque is important, what really keeps us engaged at work is a sense of meaningful work and our relationships with others in the workplace. Study after study reinforces what we probably all know intuitively: people work better when they are happily engaged in what they do. And appreciation is a major part of that. Feeling unappreciated or disrespected is the number one reason people quit their jobs. Happiness counts!
An outstanding leader that I have had the pleasure to work with shares a simple, but powerful practice that has helped his team to consistently out-perform others in that organization. He begins each day by considering one person to acknowledge – one of his team, a supplier, a client, a peer, or someone in another area of the organization. His contact is personal, focused on what that person contributes, and is usually totally unexpected. And in doing this, he has created a culture of appreciation. It has a big impact on the individual receiving the appreciation, but he says the impact on him is even greater. By starting his day with a sense of gratitude and paying attention to what is working, he finds his own sense of optimism, possibility and resourcefulness is strengthened.
Plus his colleagues and his team will say this practice has become intrinsic in their operations – the true test of a strong culture. Gratitude inspires others. And, we know it’s good for our health. Recent scientific studies illustrate that feelings, including feelings of gratitude, have a positive effect on our immune system and our ability to heal. Feelings of gratitude cause the release of endorphins, reducing stress levels and relieving anxiety.
Gratitude is a discipline and a choice. It’s as simple as starting each day with “thank you.” And, by sharing an attitude of gratefulness, we perpetuate and cultivate this way of being! It’s a powerful leadership practice for formal and informal leaders.