There are no more powerful words that we can use in our daily lives than “Thank You”. You don’t believe me? In a 2012 study, Bersin and Associates concluded that organizations with mature employee recognition programs were 12 times more likely to have stronger business results than their competitors who didn’t employ such programs. Take a moment and let that sink in. What if your organization employed such a program? If you aren’t grasping how the “thank you” economy can improve your bottom-line, maybe you should reconsider how you are embracing the power of gratitude in your organization or leadership.
Small Gestures Matter
Gratitude doesn’t happen in grand gestures. No one is asking for a huge production number, rather the act needs to come from a genuine place within each of us. Simple “Thank you” can go a long way with another person. A handwritten note can be just the ticket for an employee who feels unappreciated for the efforts they are putting on a big project. That note will last longer than a gift card from Starbucks, believe me. But it is so easy to do this, why do so many leaders fail at this act? Could it be that simple gets overlooked in our busy schedules? Or do we just forgo these little acts and wait until the year end to acknowledge the work of others? Maybe we need to slow down and remind ourselves that in the moment of the act is when we need to say “Thank You” and not wait.
Gratitude Attracts Us To Others
In business and in life, we are drawn to those who acknowledge us. We seek out those individuals who pause to pay attention to what we bring to the table. And we can extend gratitude to others, in turn, they extend gratitude to us. It’s vicious circle gratitude. What goes around comes around. In a positive way, of course. In organizations, as leaders, we model the behavior we wish others to have and that is why being grateful, being one who extends gratitude will tell others in your organization to do the same. Not only to fellow employees but to your customers. The effect gratitude has on your bottom-line can be staggering. When employees feel that they are appreciated for their work they are more likely to serve your customers with a deeper commitment. This can only bring you better productivity and profits. A company cannot fail when employees feel the gratitude of value to an organization.
So with this knowledge of the benefits of how gratitude can improve our employees and ourselves, how do we express it? Here are three tips to help you get in the attitude of gratitude.
1. Each morning – list five things that you are grateful each day. You only need a few moments for this and it’s very simply exercise that really will bring you great perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day routine and lose sight of what matters most. When you list out on paper what you are grateful for each you will see in black and white what you truly feel matters to you and have a sense of clarity of your world.
2. When dealing with others, look for ways to praise not blame. This can be very hard for some leaders. Before you head into the meeting ready to take off heads, think of a few positive things about your employees first. Consider the value the employees have given to the project for example. Find the positives first and then discuss the issues that may be at hand. Before you react negatively, try to consider there are positives in each individual.
3. Be willing to hear feedback. Expressing gratitude cannot be one sided. We need to be willing to hear others as well. And part of that is feedback. Sometimes we may get frustrated when we express our gratitude and the response isn’t what we expected. Some folks still think gratitude is only lip service. So you have to be prepared to deal with those who may not be used to hearing it. You have to be ready to let folks know you are sincere. Simply saying “Thanks” may ring hollow for some and you have to go an extra mile by explaining why they are getting a pat on the back. Unfortunately, there are rogue leaders who use gratitude in a disingenuous way. You have to be willing to break that pattern for others and be willing to hear them out.
Gratitude is a year round attitude. And the results can be astonishing and life changing. When you employ gratitude in your life and business, be ready to accept the gratitude that will return back to you.