Giving Thanks Will Make You a Better Leader

For many people, “thanks-giving” is a tradition that happens around the dinner table once a year. But research suggests that leaders should encourage gratitude in the workplace year-round.

The Science of Gratitude:  Gratitude can be defined as a positive emotion felt after receiving something valuable. And science has shown that people who are grateful feel happier. They have an improved sense of well-being, higher self-esteem, experience less depression and anxiety, and they also sleep better.

The Gratitude Gap in the Workplace:  Despite its compelling benefits, expressing gratitude doesn’t always happen at work. A recent Glassdoor survey found that 80% of employees say they would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss.

So why is there a gratitude gap in the workplace? Wharton Business School professor Adam Grant believes it’s because people don’t like to admit they need help at work, and many believe thanking someone means admitting you couldn’t do it all on your own.

How to Be More Grateful

Ready to reap gratitude’s many benefits? Luckily, you don’t need any fancy tools or advanced degrees. Here are 3 simple exercises that have been scientifically proven to boost your gratitude levels.

  1. Send a note expressing your gratitude. Writing a letter thanking someone for the positive impact he or she has had in your life is a great way to boost your gratitude. Or, send a text, if you prefer. Take out your phone right now (if it’s not out already), and send a simple text to someone you’re grateful to have in your life and let them know that you are thinking of them.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal – or even just a list. Keeping a journal of people and things for which you’re grateful can increase your feelings of gratitude. If you’re not the journaling type, don’t worry; making a short list works, too. Just jot down 3 things you’re grateful for on a Post-It note. Stick it somewhere you’ll see it often, and refresh it weekly.
  3. Take time for reflection. Simply reflecting on the many aspects of your job — large and small — for which you’re grateful can boost gratitude levels. These might include supportive work relationships, sacrifices or contributions that others have made for you, advantages or opportunities, or gratitude for the opportunity to have your job in general. Going on a short “gratitude walk” is a great way to take time out for this reflection.

 How to Increase Gratitude in the Workplace

  1. Offer thank-you cards. During his tenure at Campbell Soup, then-CEO Doug Conant wrote 30,000 handwritten thank-you notes to his employees. This practice, along with others, has been credited with how he created a culture of gratitude and turned around a struggling company. Do 30,000 letters seem daunting? Take a page out of Mark Zuckerberg’s playbook and aim for just one a day. To encourage others to do the same, emulate Starbucks and offer unlimited company thank-you cards for employees to use.
  2. Make a gratitude wall. Create a designated space for employees to share shout-outs and words of thanks. This can be a wall, a whiteboard, a flip chart in a common area…be creative! A public, anonymous display of gratitude is a great way to introduce gratitude into the workplace culture and keep employees feeling appreciated.
  3. Start meetings with gratitude. A simple way to cultivate gratitude at work is to begin meetings by sharing a short statement of appreciation (remember the difference this made in the fundraising center study!). Or, if you want to take this approach to the next level, try having everyone in the meeting share one thing they’re grateful for — it makes a great icebreaker.
  4. When things go wrong, count your blessings. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well. But gratitude can have an even bigger impact if you’re going through a rough patch. So, next time something goes wrong at work, see if you can find the silver lining. What did you learn from the experience? What opportunity did it offer you? Share these insights with your team. Being able to be truly grateful during times of challenge and change is a great way to stop negative rumination spirals and get people motivated and energized.
  5. Be grateful for people, not performance. Sometimes, gratitude initiatives can feel like old recognition programs warmed over. To avoid this feeling, focus on social worth and think about how people have made a difference. Give thanks for people’s willingness, enthusiasm, commitment, or efforts — not their impact on the bottom line.
  6. Customize your thanks-giving. Practicing gratitude requires thinking about how specific people like to be thanked, and tailoring your gratitude accordingly. Thanking a very shy person at the global quarterly meeting might come across more like punishment than recognition.
  7. Be specific in your gratitude. Saying “thanks for being awesome” doesn’t have the same impact as “thank you for always getting to meetings 5 minutes early to set up the projector; I know that our meetings wouldn’t go as well if we didn’t have you.
  8. Don’t fake it. Authenticity and vulnerability are key parts of gratitude. If you can’t think of anything you’re truly grateful for, don’t try to fake it. Most people can tell when thanks isn’t heartfelt, and fake gratitude is probably worse than none at all.

Lastly, research shows that whether you’re an absolute novice or gratitude guru, everyone can reap the positive benefits of giving and receiving thanks. So, get out there and start encouraging more gratitude in the workplace!

Article Excerpt from the Center of Creative Leadership 2019

7 Secrets to Leading with Gratitude

Even as the world changes at an ever increasing pace, kindness and gratitude will never go out of fashion. Science tells us that grateful people are happier, healthier, and nicer to be around. Leaders who express gratitude build a team culture that reflects their values.

How can you cultivate an attitude of gratitude? Here are seven tips to help you get started:

  1. Look for the good in everyday situations and in those around you.
  2. Make a list of what you’re grateful for.
  3. Develop a culture of appreciation for the people and things in your life.
  4. Verbally express your appreciation to those who have a positive impact on your life.
  5. Write thank you notes and letters of appreciation to others.
  6. Meditate on the things you are grateful for.
  7. Start having positive conversations with yourself and others, focusing on the good.

Remember: what you focus on gets magnified and manifested. Give yourself the gift and power of gratitude, you’ll feel better and do better!

“Gratitude is the single most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life.” – Jack Canfield

8 Remarkable Benefits to Leading with Gratitude

Grateful people are happier, healthier, and nicer to  be around. Research has shown that thanking others and explaining why we’re grateful is one of the most powerful ways things you can do.

What are the benefits of expressing gratitude?

  • It builds and strengthens relationships. When others know we need them, our relationships deepen.
  • It improves health. Gratitude positively impacts our health by reducing stress.
  • It makes us nicer to be around. We can all do with a little more social capital; expressing gratitude builds those networks of relationships.
  • It creates optimism. Gratitude shines a spotlight on things we have, rather than drawing attention to what we lack. This fosters a culture of abundance within us, making us optimistic about the future.
  • It reduces anger. A practice of gratitude makes us more open to receiving negative feedback and strengthens us over time.
  • It causes us to be more people-centered. Gratitude shifts attention away from ourselves and directs it to others.
  • It eliminates negative emotions. With a focus on positive emotions, room for negative thoughts becomes smaller.
  • It feels good. When we express gratitude, it helps our meed and allows us to feel better about our circumstances and ourselves.

Give yourself the gift and power of gratitude. It will foster stronger relationships, and help you live happier. What are some of the ways that you express gratitude in your life?

(Adapted from Leadercast)

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” —Zig Ziglar

5 Easy Ways to “Pay it Forward”

man reaching for sky

We’ve all heard the phrase “Pay it forward”, haven’t we?

We’re all busy with jobs and families therefore sometimes we don’t have time to “pay it forward” in a big way.

But paying it forward doesn’t have to be something big!  As leaders in the workplace and in our communities, it’s the little things in our days that we can do to take the initiative to encourage those we interact with on a daily basis to make a difference.  Our acts of encouragement, big or small, can have a profound impact on the people in our lives.

Our actions often speak louder than our words so thinking about how you can encourage someone else, such as offering someone your place in line or simply opening the door for someone, are small acts that not only make others you encounter feel better but make YOU feel better also.

Five easy ways how we can encourage others:

  • Be specific when praising someone to make it credible, such as “You really did an awesome job organizing the recent XYZ Project.
  • Mail a handwritten note with words of encouragement or send flowers to show you are thinking of someone even when they’re not around.
  • If someone is discouraged, offer specific, practical help, such as “Would it help if I….”
  • Take time to learn the things – words and actions – that make those you care about feel appreciated.
  • Challenge and encourage someone specifically. For example, tell them, “You should go after that new position, I think you would be really good at it.”

Seems pretty simple, right? Try “Paying it forward” at least once a day for the next week. And then notice how others return the encouragement to you. What a great “Pay it Forward” cycle you’ve now created!

Courtesy of Printer’s Press

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” – Scott Adams

The Power of Gratitude

Robyn Marcotte Gratitude does more than make us feel good, it does us good. What’s more, it’s good for other people too. So, thanking the people we’re grateful for increases happiness all round.

Research has shown that thanking others and explaining why we’re grateful, is one of the most powerful ways of spreading happiness. In fact, the study showed that if you write one letter of gratitude to just one key person in your life, you will experience a month’s worth of happiness.

In spirit of “Happy” Thanksgiving, I want to thank all of you…thank you for your business, sharing yourselves, and being open to new ideas and ways of leading others. We learn as much from you with your passionate stories, challenges and opportunities as you learn from us!

Okay, now it’s your turn – whom are you going to thank? Go ahead, see how this is the gift that gives back. You will make their day…and yours.

Robyn Marcotte, Founder and CEO, Aha! Leadership LLC

6 Steps to Building Relationships with a Simple Note

Writing and receiving handwritten notes are becoming a lost art in today’s society. Yet this tradition of notes is a timeless act of appreciation in both our personal and professional lives. How unexpected and welcomed when you receive a note of appreciation from a client, teammate, etc.? It just feels good….and when you acknowledge and thank others, it’s a simple way to build relationships. You will stand out in that person’s mind, and it will make you feel good as well.

Here’s how to make the most of your thank you notes:

  1. Set the right mood. Select a salutation that matches the formality and intimacy of your relationship with the recipient. Make sure you address the recipient correctly.
  2. Be specific. Reference the exact gift or act of kindness in which you are thankful for. Express how it touched or affected you. Avoid referring to the specific amount of money given as a gift.
  3. Be authentic. Express genuine appreciation in a personal way. Strive to use the same tone you would use if you were speaking to the recipient in person.
  4. Use quality paper. Beautiful stationery shows the recipient that you care and also provides a more pleasurable writing experience.
  5. Write legibly. Take you time and use a good, smudge-free pen. If you’re not sure of what you want to say, write a draft before beginning the final version.
  6. Close with affection. “Sincerely” is a classic option, but you can use a warmer, more personal closing for more well-connected relationships.

 

Source: Experience Life- September 2015

The Power of Gratitude

Robyn Marcotte Gratitude does more than make us feel good, it does us good. What’s more, it’s good for other people too. So, thanking the people we’re grateful for increases happiness all round.

Research has shown that thanking others and explaining why we’re grateful, is one of the most powerful ways of spreading happiness. In fact, the study showed that if you write one letter of gratitude to just one key person in you life, experience a months worth of happiness.

In spirit of “Merry” Christmas and “Happy” New Year, I want to thank all of you…thank you for your business, sharing yourselves, and being open to new ideas and ways of leading others. We learn as much from you with your passionate stories, challenges and opportunities as you learn from us!

Okay, now it’s your turn – who are you going to thank? Go ahead, see how this is the gift that gives back. You will make their day…and yours.

Robyn Marcotte, Aha! Leadership