Gratefulness is essential to leading a happy and pleasurable life. Kindness goes a long way, but gratitude has been shown to improve self-esteem, productivity, and resilience: all great attributes of a strong and successful leader. It can work as a powerful tool for employee motivation and increasing personal happiness. The power of grateful leadership is next to none when it comes to creating a positive workplace culture and an overall prosperous organization.
Why is it difficult to express gratitude in leadership?
Reactivity is an instinctual behavior when it comes to responding to something that is beyond our control. Stress and anxiety are increased as we watch things unravel contrary to our wishes. Therefore, gratefulness is not innate; it is an expression we must continually work on adding to our daily lives.
Leadership is a role that is held by a person who encompasses the ability to lead other people, teams, or entire organizations; leaving leaders responsible for much more than themselves. Tough as it is to come by in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life, it is that much harder for organizational leaders. There is never-ending pressure to make sure tasks are being completed to reach corporate goals and that the employees are happy and motivated. Nothing too major, right?
Nearly 1/3 of employees do not show trust in management and even worse, we are now working with the millennial generation whose needs are much harder to cater to than ever before. Disconnecting from the intensities of what goes on in the workplace is becoming a larger challenge for leaders, leaving little time to worry about much else, including reminders to express gratitude in leadership.
Defining Great Leadership
There is more than diligence in completing work and keeping all ducks in a row when it comes to award-winning management. A subpar leader is one who skims the surface of what their job description entails to check off items on their to-do list for the sake of just that, checking off items on their to-do list. A great leader adds to their job description without being told to step up their game.
Great leaders foster a sense of trust and loyalty. They avoid blurred lines in communication at all costs, ensuring their team is clear on what to do to reach specified goals. Most importantly, they remain strong in the face of adversity. Just like in any other position, things are bound to happen that are unavoidable. Some would take a set back and give up, but not a great leader. A great leader embodies effective leadership skills. They are decisive and empowering, driven to make the best of the worst and motivate their team. Above all else, they express gratitude.
How do good leaders express gratitude?
Expanding the capacity you have for feeling and expressing gratitude is important in strengthening not only your network, but your relationships as well. You want to build a work culture where employees feel they are trusted and valued by you. The devil is in the details.
At the submission of a major project or meeting a deadline early, one way a great leader will show their employees that they are grateful for their hard work is to hold a gratitude de-briefing. The de-briefing focuses specifically on positive actions taken, engaging employees in a group conversation and empowering them to perform better on upcoming tasks.
Corporate events and gatherings are a great place for leaders to express their appreciation. Whether it is during an individual conversation or a presentation to the entire organization, recognizing a person for a job well-done is a simple yet extremely thoughtful gesture.
Actively Seek Out Beneficial Contributions
It is easier to find things that are bothersome than things we appreciate and grow from. A lot of the time, recognizing how someone contributed to your success and growth means paying close attention. Letting someone know that they were able to directly help you in your growth and success in the workplace, and as an individual, leads to a great band of trust and appreciation.
How Gratitude Can Make You A Better Leader
Gratitude can lead the way in instigating innovation rather than reveling in stress. Stress causes the brain to shut down, preventing our ability to form new thoughts and engage in our creativity. We become less discriminating and make poor decisions on whom to turn to for support. Change the pattern from playing the victim card to using stress as a learning experience to become a creator.
Expressing gratitude serves as motivation to the receiver. They will feel the extra push to keep up the work that is being commended. It is mutually beneficial in that you will continuously strengthen the bond of trust between you and your employee, enticing them to work to the best of their ability. Like the old saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life”, the same goes for employees and leaders. “Happy employee, happy leader.”
Gratitude is something that should become part of your daily routine, whether you are a leader or not. It is positively linked to mental health and wellbeing, as well as overall happiness. Energy is contagious, so why not make it positive if the power is in your hands to do so? Here are some questions you should ask yourself daily to get your mind into the routine of being grateful.
- What are three things I am appreciative of today?
- Who am I grateful for?
- What are three things that will make today amazing?
- What is my personal affirmation for the day?
Once you are in the habit of being grateful for what you have in your personal life, expressing gratitude in the workplace will become second nature. When you are feeling like your creativity for showing gratefulness is running at empty, not to worry, Thnks is here to help. We make it easy for you to let someone know you appreciate their time, hard work, long hours, or whatever else it may be at the touch of a button.
When was the last time you said ‘thank you’ and really, truly meant it?
Most of us don’t realize how powerful it is to say thank you. Gratitude is important. Gratitude is revolutionary. But so many people often seem surprised to see how saying thnks can be so powerful.
One might think bringing appreciation, compassion, and gratitude into our professional relationships is unprofessional, but that’s not true. Evidence shows that gratitude creates an environment where people don’t feel like cogs in a machine. They feel valued. They discover a deeper connection to the work they do and to the bonds they form.
The practice of gratitude is gradually pervading the workplace. In a 2011 Harvard Business Review article Secrets of Positive Feedback, Campbell Soup Company’s CEO Douglas R. Conant said he wrote about 30,000 handwritten notes of appreciation to his employees over a period of ten years. This may have seemed like a waste of time to other people, but for him, they were a way to boost productivity and goodwill. He took time to celebrate the accomplishments of every employee. His work is powerful and inspiring.
Making gratitude and the practice of saying ‘thank you’ a fundamental part of the client or employee experience is crucial. It can break the hardest of shells, inspire people to open up and truly connect as human beings, transform our professional relationships, and drive business and success. In fact, gratitude is a valuable emotion that offers an array of functional outcomes.
For many companies, appreciation is the cornerstone of their culture. America’s No. 35 Best Employer of 2017 Southwest Airlines pays attention to special events in its employees’ lives: from marriages to illnesses to graduations. Small gestures like cards, flowers, and thank-you notes go a long way towards changing mindsets and developing authentic relationships.
We’re all living in what Gary Vaynerchuk calls The Thank You Economy. Gratitude needs to be embraced. It’s a powerful force with life-changing effects.
So who can you say thnks to, today?
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is an expression of thanks and appreciation. Those with gratitude show the readiness to show appreciation and return the kindness. Gratitude is contagious. For instance when receiving a gift, the temporal and frontal lobe of the brain associated with emotion and decision making light up and cause an urge to return the favor. This is considered the Norm of Reciprocity, a concept coined by the evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers.
The Reciprocity Principle
The Reciprocity Principle is a fundamental law of psychology. According to the sociologist Alvin Gouldner, a professor of sociology at Washington University, this norm is nearly universal, and only a few members of society—the very young, the sick, or the old—are exempt from it. Hardwired in our brains, in almost all social situations, we have a desire to pay back what we have received. Within the psychology of selling, reciprocity matters.
The Coca-Cola Experiment
The coca cola experiment is one of the most well-known studies about reciprocity. It was published in 1971 by Dennis Regan, a professor at Cornell University. The results of the study prove the power of giving returns. In this experiment, Regan’s assistant, “Joe,” would leave at the room at the same time for each subject, but in some cases, he returned with a can of Coke. At the end of the experiment, Joe asked the subjects if they would buy a raffle ticket from him to help him win a prize. In the condition where Joe did not give the participant a soda, the degree to which they liked Joe influenced how many raffle tickets they would buy. But, in the condition where Joe did give a soda, participants bought twice as many tickets as the no soda condition, regardless of the degree to which they liked Joe. So not only did people that liked Joe buy twice as many tickets, the value of the tickets they bought surpassed the value of the soda. In support of the Reciprocity Principle, it’s evident throughout this experiment that it pays to give.
Reciprocity and Persuasion
Reciprocity has a powerful influence on human behavior. Many techniques of persuasion use reciprocity as their secret weapon. The “that’s not all” technique is a sales technique in which the persuader makes an offer and then adds an extra hook to make the proposal look more appealing before the target person can make a decision. Suddenly, the offer appears like a fantastic deal and makes the seller appear extremely generous. In return, the buyer feels the need to spend even more or at least as much as you have gifted to them.
What is Gratitude?
We all know that person who is constantly in a good mood and always winning the game of life. But how do they do it? The answer is simple. They show gratitude, an expression of appreciation that comes from the subconscious state of mind following positive affirmation. It is the affirmation and sources of goodness that are outside ourselves that creates our power of choice between gratefulness and ungratefulness. Being grateful is more than an emotional response; it’s an attitude acknowledging the connection. That person who is constantly in a good mood and always winning at life … that can be you!
The Importance of Gratitude
Thankfulness plays a huge role in the way we perceive the world around us. Although it is a personal decision, giving thanks generates positive emotions, which provides us with an immediate feeling of well being. It is strongly linked to mental health and overall life satisfaction, which largely includes our relationships with others.
Did you know that gratitude is a relational disposition? That means it is a feeling that reaches far past the individual experiencing it. Think of it as a hypothetical flash mob. It is a movement that flows steadily through a crowd, creating an invisible bond between each and every person. Now think of how powerful a tool showing recognition is, especially when trying to close a deal.
Why Gratitude Works
There is no worse feeling than putting in hard work, time, and effort to receive nothing in return, not even a small gesture of thanks. It’s hard to not take it personally. It leaves one feeling undervalued and creates a cycle of negative energy. Nonetheless, there is no action too big or small that showing gratitude doesn’t have a positive effect on. It is a reciprocal act by nature, building trust in relationships and promoting positive feedback. You get what you give, in the office and in life.
Gratitude in Relationships
In business, there are two things there can never be too much of. That is revenue and business. You’re probably wondering how to get more of those two things. The basis of all opportunity lies in creating solid relationships. What’s the secret to moving in a positive direction with any new acquaintance? You guessed it! Gratitude. By showing someone you are grateful for them, even with a verbal “Thank You”, your relationship is bound to move forward in the right direction. The same goes for business relationships. An ideal business relationship is one that is profitable both short term and long term. The key to driving sales, you ask? Giving thanks!
Gratitude in the Workplace
We can all vouch for feeling unappreciated in the workplace. There is nothing that throws your motivation out the door faster than feeling like your every move goes unnoticed, be it a good or bad one.
It is estimated that $11 billion is lost in the workforce every year due to high employee turnover with about 71% of all American employees feeling disengaged and 26% feeling actively disengaged. What is the biggest contributor to disengagement from employees? The lack or complete absence of gratitude. You would be surprised (or maybe not so surprised) to know that retention rates greatly increase with gratitude in the workplace. In a Workforce Mood Tracker survey at Globoforce in 2014, it was found that 86% of employees who were recognized in the workplace were more motivated in their positions.
Imagine you are in an office with a huge deadline quickly approaching and lots to be done. The resulting energy in the room is directly related to the reaction of anybody who is holding someone else accountable for a task. They, in turn, have two choices when it comes to approaching the task holder. Give them negative feedback for what is possibly going awry, which would result in lower engagement and quality of work, or show them appreciation for what is going right, leading to an increase in drive and trust in the working relationship. Remember, gratefulness is reciprocal and works both ways.
What does this mean? There doesn’t need to be a workplace meltdown before you can show appreciation. It should be a routine practice to make leads, prospects, and clients feel important.
The Correlation Between Gratitude and Business Relationships
Looking to grow in numbers when it comes to prospective clients is our immediate reaction to what it means to grow and build a successful business. In the case of strong business relationships, it is much more about quality than quantity. Relationship building is imperative to growth and success of any business.
The correlation between gratitude and business relationships is linear. The greater the appreciation that is expressed is, the stronger the bond is between business and client. A prospect is much more naturally inclined to build a long-term and loyal relationship with a business when they know their best interest is at heart. How do you leave a lasting impression after your first meeting? Gratitude.
There is nothing that says trust and respect more than showing a prospect how much their time was valued than by blatantly showing them. Not to say a handshake to end a meeting with a follow-up email is a complete waste of time, but how does that separate you from the rest of the crowd? Showing appreciation is a mutual act that goes far beyond any transaction. You want to show that you aren’t simply aiming to sell to them, but looking forward to working together for the foreseeable future.
Ways to Practice Gratitude
The world around us is what we perceive it to be. We often focus on negative thoughts and experiences by nature to a great degree. By shifting our cognitive processes to recognize positives, it is returned to us tenfold.
Imagine you are in a meeting with a big name prospect. They tell you about various companies they work with that are your direct competitors. Your first thought is that there is no way you will ever win over their business if they are already working with the leaders in the industry. They also give you a list of reasons why they accepted a meeting with you, one point being they heard how well you treat and work with your current clients.
By focusing on how grateful you are to hear about your reputation with those you currently work with, you will not only be given an instant boost of confidence, but your prospective client will also recognize that you genuinely appreciate their kind words. Remember, gratitude is reciprocal.
The most common form of showing gratitude is by writing. Be it writing your own personal thoughts and feelings or to someone letting them know you are thankful for them. Sending off an email with a small thank you note is a no-brainer when it comes to actions taken after a business meeting. It may seem like a necessary step in the sales funnel, but by following through with such a small act of gratitude, you are only grazing the surface of forming a solid pyramid of trust.
Let’s not forget the best and most effective form of showing appreciation, expression! Who said it had to be a special occasion to show someone you value him or her? That’s what makes this form of practicing gratitude that much more effective. Everybody loves receiving gifts and the best gift of all is the giving itself. Something as small as sending a coffee to your client after a demo could be the difference between them working with you in the long haul or fizzling.
Does it Pay to Show Gratitude?
Yes, absolutely! Gratefulness is your secret weapon for closing any deal. Keep in mind; you are working to build a relationship, not giving with the expectation to receive. Genuinely extending gratitude leads to stronger and more stable business relationships eventually giving your business and increases in revenue and loyally committed clients.
A study done at Harvard Business School found that happier people give more, in turn, making others happy and creating a positive feedback loop with its start at giving thanks. Your numbers will show you, it is worth going the extra mile and spending the extra dollar to show someone you appreciate their time and work. There is no such thing as showing too much gratitude.
What’s one of, if not the most common ways people describe a job they don’t like?
The same goes for help and support.
That’s right, no matter the circumstances, everyone seems to agree that the worst outcome for giving your time to something or someone is to never be properly thanked for your hard work.
Saying “thank you” is such a valuable and essential part of any relationship, but sadly in our busy world it often falls by the wayside. Receiving thanks is such a wonderful and satisfying thing, and we all know it. So why don’t we always give the thanks that others deserve? Is it that we don’t care? Hopefully no. Do we just forget how important it can be? Maybe. Perhaps it’s the overwhelming task of finding the “correct” way to express thanks. Let’s talk about some of the things in life that deserve a “thank you”, and some ways to show just how thankful you are.
Reasons to Say Thank You
There are a million little reasons to say thank you each and every day. But when something has truly made a difference, it’s time to show your gratitude in a meaningful way.
Thank You for Your Help
When someone offers help of any kind, personally or professionally, it’s a wonderful gesture. Think back on all the greatest accomplishments of your life. Chances are someone had to help you get there, and if they don’t deserve a big thank you, who does?
Thank You For Your Time
Time is off the essence. Time is money. Time is one of the most valuable commodities we have to give. It’s easy to forget that. So any time someone has given their time to you, it’s important to say thank you.
Thank You For Your Business
A great business relationship is worth a thousand words, and at least two of those worlds should be “thank you”. When you truly value your working relationship it’s always important to make it known.
Thank You For Your Support
When someone in our lives has our back it means the world. Saying thank you to a person in your life who has supported you may not always be at the forefront of our minds, but often times their support has made all the difference.
Thank You For Being You
Not all thank you’s must be preceded by a great sacrifice. Sometimes it’s good to remind the people who matter to you most that you are thankful for them. Period.
While simply saying the words “thank you” is a great place to start, it may not be enough to fully express your gratitude. Writing a personalized letter can be daunting, but speaking from the heart can truly show someone how much they matter to you. Stock up on thank you note cards that are just your style so you can always be ready to send a personalized touch.
Thank You Gifts
They say it’s better to give than to receive, but that doesn’t make receiving a thank you gift any less meaningful. Finding a gift, big or small, that you know someone will enjoy is a fantastic way to show gratitude.
An easy and delicious way to say thank you is also a Thnks best-seller! The gift of a tasty treat is a tried and true way to say thank you.
Can’t decide on the perfect bottle of wine to say “thanks” with? Why not send them all! A mixed wine bundle from Penrose Hill takes this classic thank you gift to a whole new level, offering variety to those you are grateful to.