This post is meant to be immediately actionable, so we start with a to-do first, then get to the; what, why and how:
- To-Do: Show gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation, or recognition to three people this week. If possible, do it face to face (computer screen to computer screen works too) and watch their reaction. What did you notice?
One of the early lessons I learned in leadership was how a little gratitude goes a long way. I was having lunch with my supervisor and we were talking about a particularly hard project we were working on and how the rest of the team was holding up. I told her that the team could use some positive feedback and/or recognition for the work they are doing. The initial response from her was not great (but common in the workplace), “that’s why they get paid.”
Over the next week, much to my surprise my boss sent emails to the team when the team turned in a phase of the project and told the team how great their work was (sincerely) and thank you. I sat across from one individual who received one such email (I was bcc’d) and I got to see a rare smile from this employee. He took a moment then put his head down and got back to work, and from what I can tell, was in a much happier and more productive place the rest of the week.
The twenty second emails did not cost my boss anything but made an impact on the teams’ day/week. We all work to get paid, and are paid to work, but do we need to treat each other like machines (studies show the workplace is the least likely place to receive gratitude)? What are the small ways you can show appreciation for those on your team?
But how does it help us in business? Below are some benefits of gratitude:
- Showing gratitude provides a 360o benefit
- Showing gratitude boost both parties’ mood and creates a connection between the two individuals
- Gratitude and recognition build on themselves leading to increased workplace happiness and as a result higher retention rate
- The more you give gratitude and thanks, the more you are likely to receive, you create an ecosystem/permission to show gratitude
- Increased teamwork – recipients of gratitude are more generous and likely to help others
- Increased productivity – according to a Glassdoor survey 81% of employees work harder when they are shown appreciation by their boss
- You let employees know how they are doing in real time, not just when they make a mistake or during reviews
- It disarms a frustrated/stressed employee
No strong conclusion or sales pitch at the end, go make someone’s day brighter and increase your mood in the process.