03 Apr Gratitude Drives Performance at Work
At the WorkHuman conference I attended recently in Nashville, the emphasis on gratitude was inescapable. Many breakout sessions touted gratitude as a powerful performance tool, and attendees were encouraged to visit the Gratitude Bar during breaks.
This bar didn’t serve cocktails. Instead, it served messages of gratitude that participants could write for each other at the conference.
And it was fabulous!
As I sent and received gratitude, I found my energy and excitement levels rise. Shawn Achor, happiness researcher and former Harvard professor, affirms gratitude as an essential way to increase connection while simultaneously boosting your own happiness.
Leaders are Starving for Gratitude
A surprising takeaway from the conference was learning that executives and senior leaders are starving for gratitude and appreciation from one another.
One reason for this gratitude drought may be that high performers feel too vulnerable when sharing gratitude with other high performers. Another theory is that excellence is “expected” and doesn’t warrant appreciation. Regardless of the reason, it is imperative to demonstrate meaningful gratitude at all levels.
One small act of authentic gratitude has the power to transform a team’s engagement, performance, morale and loyalty.
According to WorkHuman’s research, individuals who receive meaningful gratitude will experience a joy “high” that can last up to three weeks. When an employee receives a cash bonus, the joy “high” lasts for three weeks, too. The fact that a non-cash expression of gratitude produces the same “high” as a cash gift proves the power of gratitude.
Imagine if you and other leaders shared meaningful gratitude to colleagues on a regular basis? Your organization and culture would be buzzing with improved engagement, performance and connection all year long.
What is Meaningful Gratitude?
Meaningful gratitude must be sincere and personalized for the person receiving your appreciation. Pay attention to how your colleagues tend to show appreciation to others. Their natural tendency often aligns with how they prefer to receive it.
If you’re unsure, I recommend asking your team for their preferences. Most people are quick to say what is most meaningful to them. According to Gary Chapman, New York Times bestselling author, there are Five Appreciation Languages that people use to show their gratitude at work. These are very similar to his most famous work, The 5 Love Languages. Keep an eye out for a future blog where I will dive into these appreciation languages and provide examples on how to best use them.
I recommend scheduling weekly gratitude reminders – not only to express gratitude for your own work and life, but to also send appreciation to others. Remember to include your peers, senior leaders and/or board members.
If your company is seeking to adopt a software solution that prompts your entire organization to express gratitude regularly, then I recommend checking out WorkHuman’s platform and others like it.
Who will be on the receiving end of your gratitude today? And how will you express your gratitude? Will it be through a handwritten note, an in-person conversation, a meaningful gift or something else? Post your comments below. Your actions will inspire others.
Let me end with my appreciation for you. Thank you for connecting with me via my newsletter. Your readership and feedback mean so much to me.
Cheers to you,