WHY IS GRATITUDE ESSENTIAL AT THE WORKPLACE?
It is sometimes the simple things in life that are most valuable, and yet somehow go unappreciated a great deal of the time: watching the sun rise, having someone call you on a regular basis to see if you have eaten, if you’re okay, or just to say hello, a pet who greets you with unparalleled enthusiasm every single day, time to do nothing and just be. The truth is that there are a million things to be grateful for that we often take for granted − maybe we think things will always stay the same (“I can always see the sun rise tomorrow, it’s not going anywhere”), or maybe we’ve become so accustomed to being treated with love or having support that we think we’re entitled to it. In any case, there is much to be grateful for whether at home or at work.
Business psychologist Amy Morin studied the effects of expressing gratitude in the workplace, and found that it led to an increase in productivity, promoted well-being, helped build mental strength, created a ripple effect and increased job satisfaction. Research does not necessarily tell us anything that we don’t already intuitively know about being grateful – we have all experienced feeling blessed for something or someone at some point or another in our personal lives. Showing gratitude in the workplace, however, is something that people often hesitate to do. While this may happen due to a multitude of reasons, there appears to be no good reason why our professional lives should be deprived of the warmth, respect and connection that we pursue in our personal lives. Because here’s the clincher: our professional lives are personal too.
Here are a few things to understand about gratitude that can help you express it in the workplace:
Gratitude requires perspective. It is next to impossible to be grateful if you are constantly complaining or grumbling. If you are not in a mindset to see the positive in situations, it will be hard to find something to be grateful for. Expressing gratitude is thus secondary to cultivating a balanced outlook.
Gratitude makes others feel good. When you express gratitude towards someone for something that they have done, the positive energy it carries naturally makes the person feel good. Everybody wants to be appreciated for the work they put in, and showing it makes people feel valued, and helps build meaningful and positive relationships.
Gratitude makes you feel good. Expressing gratitude towards somebody first requires positive thinking from within. The feeling of being grateful is by itself a highly positive and uplifting one, and expressing it and making someone else feel good only enhances the feeling further.
Gratitude requires sincerity. A gesture of gratitude – a smile, a “thank you” or something more – is an act of deliberation. It requires conscious effort on your part, and requires you to be completely present and genuine. Human beings are natural lie-detection experts, so when someone is not being sincere, it becomes evident very quickly. Showing gratitude requires actually being grateful.
Take that extra moment to be grateful to those around you. As the celebrated writer William Arthur Ward once said,
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”