Making Gratitude Your Attitude: Why You Need Gratitude At Work

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - John F. Kennedy

In life, whether personally or professionally, it’s important to show gratitude with those you interact with. But what change will it make at work? Can gratitude really make a difference? We think so. Not only does displaying gratitude show signs of character and class, but it can also contribute to your rise on the ladder of success.

Gratitude equals better leadership

Those holding a position of authority are in a unique position to show gratitude to employees, but will it make a difference? According to a study done by Glassdoor, 80% of polled employees reported being inspired to work harder after they received some sign of appreciation from their bosses. Inversely, 40% reported working harder merely because their bosses demanded it and they feared repercussion for failing to perform acceptably. That’s a big difference.

The Wall Street Journal says gratitude is an effective way to “improve workplace morale.” Acknowledgement alone can be a major milestone for an employee. Whether it’s a handwritten note commenting on a job well done, or a handshake in the hallway, you’re going to have one happy employee on your hands who will work that much harder for you. Your company wouldn’t be the only one raking in the benefits of happy employees. Companies such as Netflix, Facebook, and Google all have programs in place to show gratitude.  

In Forbes’ article, “Your Most Powerful Forgotten Weapon: Gratitude,” author David Horsager says, “When it comes to business, I think we fall into the trap of not seeing people when we work with them. We take them for granted and just assume they don’t need a show of gratitude. This oversight can have huge consequences, particularly if you’re the boss.”

Gratitude equals happiness at work

Thanksgiving isn’t the only day that being thankful can bring happiness. Yes, turkey and football are hard to beat, but did you know expressing and receiving gratitude can improve your work day in a very physical way? UCLA’s research center concluded that “regularly expressing gratitude literally changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps the gray matter functioning, and makes us healthier and happier.”

Furthermore, powerofideas.com goes on to explain that, “when you feel happiness, the central nervous system is affected. You are more peaceful, less reactive, and less resistant. And gratitude is the most effective practice for stimulating feelings of happiness.”

Not only is gratitude a healthy stimulation for the brain, but it’s also one of the rare situations where no matter what it’s win/win. Whether expressing your gratitude to a coworker, or being on the receiving end of a thankful friend, you’re going to benefit from those feelings. Saying ‘thank you’ in any form will strengthen your relationships with people.

In their article, Harvard Health points out that when people have gratitude in their lives, they are better equipped to deal with adversity, build stronger relationships, and relish good experiences. When faced with adversity in the workforce, you will be far better equipped to deal with situations if you have a foundation of gratitude and can meet setbacks head on knowing that, in the end, you’ll leave them behind with a grateful heart.

Gratitude equals success

95% of Americans polled were all in agreement that grateful people are more fulfilled and lead richer lives. Part of that fulfillment comes from having success in personal and professional interactions. In the book, The Power of Thanks,  Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine lay out 14 reasons why being grateful can bring success, spanning two decades of global research. Some of which include:

  • Grateful people achieve more-citing their increased determination, enthusiasm and academic achievement.
  • Grateful people are less likely to burn out-managers especially fared well here since providing recognition and appreciation helps them stay energized for their own positions.
  • Giving creates a positive feedback loop-Taken from a study performed by Harvard Business School, “Happier people give more and giving makes people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a positive feedback loop (with happier people giving more, getting happier, and giving even more."

As William Arthur Ward put it, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” You could have Thanksgiving every day! Who’s gonna turn that down?

Just be willing to show gratefulness for what you receive, and you will find it becomes easier to find joy in everyday life. If you find yourself in a point in life where you know you’d like to be a bit more grateful, take these baby steps to get yourself there. It’s why we included a morning AND evening gratitude section in the SELF Journal. Just jot down big and small things each day and you’ll find yourself appreciating life a bit more.

04 June, 2017
Written by:
Allen Brouwer

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