Why Gratitude Matters at Work
What are the elements that matter most when creating an organization that works together as a team? As you know, there are many elements to building a great team. But one that stands out and is often forgotten in the workplace is gratitude. When management is grateful for the work their employees are doing, the employee recognizes the acknowledgment and a positive impact is made. When you truly understand the importance that gratitude plays in the workplace, your team and all levels of the organization work with passion and improved performance.
Showing gratitude is about showing appreciation to someone for a job that they have done. It is honoring the individual for putting the time and effort into the task at hand. Ask yourself, how often do you hear the word, "thank you" in the workplace? Does your management express it freely?
Research has shown that when you express gratitude people listen and pay attention. The missing link in many organizations today is engagement. Only 30% of the US workforce is engaged, 70% disengaged. Employees don't feel that there voice is heard and that they are valued for the work they do.
Studies have shown the numerous benefits of showing gratitude. From social, psychological and physical benefits. It can improve and strengthen relationships, which is key in the workplace. When gratitude is present, low levels of resentment and envy exist. Consider how productive a team could be when envy and resentment are void from the work environment. The employees self worth increases as they recognize the value they bring to others.
The John Templeton Foundation showed that many Americans find work to be the last place where they either give or receive thanks. There is often the feeling that you don't need to be thankful to people at work. But it has been proven that gratitude at work, improves productivity and happiness at work. Employees feel valued and bosses are perceived as more successful.
When someone feels unappreciated for the job they are doing, the chances are greater that they will do the bare minimum. Just enough to keep their job than someone who feels appreciated.
The greatest thing about gratitude is that the benefits can be enormous, while the cost is minimal. It takes little time and effort to let someone know that they are appreciated. In fact, we all know how to do it, we just need to remember to do it. Like most culture change within organizations, gratitude needs to start at the top. Lack of appreciation from above will show up at all levels within the organization.
Try it! It is simple enough to do and only requires you to remember to say Thank You!
What does it take to be happy and also succeed at work? I often credit my Mother because she taught me lessons that are so basic and can be applied to work. But they can so easily be forgotten. Work is very much like life but in a different environment. Yes, there are politics and it is not always easy. Plus the people you work with are not always like your Mother. But, if you realize that you are dealing with people, and when you treat others like you want to be treated, most respond the same way back. Sometimes, it takes a little while, but they eventually come around. The lessons are easy. You just need to remember and apply what you learned from your Mother to those you work with.
Think back when you were a child. Maybe you were five, six, or seven years old. What did your Mother teach you? Below are a few simple reminders. It is funny how very basic they are. But when you are at work, take a moment, be present, and think about what your Mom would say and those valuable lessons start to come back.
1. Listening is key. When you stop talking and just listen to what the other person is saying, you learn so much. Go back to when your Mom was talking to you. She asked you to stop talking and you listened to what she had to say. She taught you to not interrupt and in return you learned so much. Similarly in business, the key is to listen. It is a trait many sales people live by. They ask a question, stop talking, and listen to the client. The first to talk is the one that loses. Try it. You will be surprised by how much you can learn by just listening to your client or co-worker.
2. Trust. When you build trust in your team and others at work, magic happens. Remember your teachers in grade school? You were encouraged to raise your hand and you did it proudly, “oh pick me.” Whether it was right or wrong, everyone got a turn to show what they knew. Trust is built by sharing information and allowing others to fail. When someone feels they can answer a question or give input without being judged, trust is built. From trust, creativity and an organization or team that collaborates occurs.
3. Be friendly and likeable. Don’t be afraid to smile and show that you are having fun. Remember when you started making friends in grade school? It was the kids that were fun and friendly that you wanted to be friends with. Or the little girl or boy at the bus stop that smiled and said hello to you. The same theory applies at work. When you are enthusiastic, positive, and friendly your sense of being comes across and others want to follow you. They want you in meetings and to be a mentor. You become a role model.
4. Communication is a determining factor for success, whether you are in a team or in a one-on-one situation. Do you remember your Mom saying speak up? Let people hear your voice. By communicating, people learn from you. When you are in a meeting, add input and meaning to the conversation, don’t just sit quietly. Make it a point to introduce yourself and say hello to others in the office each morning. Don’t be intimidated by those more senior than you. Show management who you are and the value you bring. You will start to become noticed.
5. Always say thank you. Gratitude goes a long way. Your Mother taught you the basics. Always be polite, say please and thank you. When you appreciate and thank others for their work, confidence is built and collaboration and trust ensues. Gratitude builds a positive and can-do atmosphere. With gratitude you align with what is happening and how it should unfold. Things begin to work for you.
Have you forgotten the basics in how to act at work? Think back to what you learned as a child. Many of those same lessons still apply. Try it and let me know if things change based on the simple lessons you learned from Mom.