Feeling gratitude is a wonderful practice, and giving thanks takes it to the next level. As with so many other personal leadership approaches, it starts with awareness and gains power with practice – in action.
Giving thanks is a foundation for better experiences at work. Gallup’s research shows that the number one reason employees report leaving a job is that they don’t feel appreciated. So thank others, recognize them, and ideally not just for achievements, but for who they are.
It all starts with awareness. To be more aware, create something to trigger it. A gratitude practice or journal is an easy and scientifically proven way to boost physical and mental health, sleep, relationships, and stress.
The practice is this: Every day, write down 5 specific things (people, situations, capabilities, characteristics, or things) you are grateful for at that moment, and why. If writing or typing is a challenge, you can speak them to yourself also.
As you move through the practice, take time to feel your gratitude. For me, this emotion does seem to well up, rising from my abdomen up through my chest. As my example shows, with practice, you can find the physical sensations that accompany any emotion, including gratitude.
It’s that simple. Yet you will find that creating this, as any new daily habit, may have challenges. There are likely to be days you forget until you are really tired and ready for bed. Or that you forget entirely. That’s OK. Work toward every day and be gentle with yourself. Be grateful when you do remember!
Gratitude at Work
Now most of my items most days are more personal. So taking gratitude to the workplace can be an additional step. Can you find a few things you are truly grateful for at work? Again, this could be people, situations, capabilities, characteristics, processes, technologies, or things. It might also be for the purpose of the work that you do – personally or as an organization.
You can use the same simple practice of taking time to list these and feel into your gratitude.
While a gratitude meditation or journal may seem like a very private endeavor, doing it while you are at work can be a powerful way to shift your energy.
Gratitude at work can improve productivity, relationships, stress management, and decision-making. It can help you advance in your career, especially when you turn that feeling into action.
Giving Thanks at Work
Giving thanks at work is a way to turn gratitude practice into an action that others perceive. Consciously giving thanks can lead to employee engagement and retention. It can also make you a more effective and recognized leader, no matter where you sit in the organization.
I know I tend to be more motivated when someone appreciates me and what I’ve done. When I feel I’ve been recognized for who I am and what I bring, especially, I light up.
Here are some ideas for how to give thanks at work:
- Celebrate every success with a thank you to those who had a role in making it happen.
- Always express your gratitude when you identify it. If it’s clear who is responsible, be sure to express it directly to them; if not, just comment on it in a meeting.
- Start problem-solving or improvement processes by recognizing what is working with thanks. This is also called Appreciative Inquiry.
- Tell someone thank you, not for an outcome but for what they bring to your workplace.
Think about it for yourself. What makes your feel motivated and energized at work? Can you provide that environment for others?
Try giving thanks and feeling the gratitude as you do.