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  • Writer's pictureJenn Donahue

3 Reasons Why Gratitude is Essential in Business

person standing in a field with open arms in gratitude for the wind, the sun and more

Why is gratitude so important in the workplace?

In our personal lives, we may understand its purpose, but when it comes to the workplace, why has gratitude become an afterthought in most businesses?

One of the primary responsibilities as a leader is to support our teams so they can perform at their best. Among the many tools we have, one of the most effective (and often overlooked) is the practice of gratitude.

My team and I recently held an informal LinkedIn poll and found that 47% of participants considered “appreciation by leadership” to be the most motivating method in the workplace.

Gratitude towards your team shows that you appreciate, care, and value the work they are contributing. If, as leaders, we don’t show gratitude to our employees it can leave them questioning their skills and talents or lacking the motivation and inspiration to show up and do their best.

To effectively motivate and lead our team, gratitude is of the utmost importance.

Open expressions of gratitude can sometimes feel uncomfortable because we are exposing vulnerable thoughts and feelings of thankfulness, but, the truth is, expressing gratitude (and receiving it) is essential to our health, performance, and overall well being.

When people feel appreciated and respected, they are much more likely to be positive, innovative and creative contributors to whatever they are working on.

Gratitude is a huge contributing factor to employee innovation, job satisfaction, and a positive working environment. When leaders learn to regularly and effectively communicate gratitude and encourage their co-workers to do the same, businesses show tangible positive results.

Gratitude is contagious, so leading by example is the best way to begin cultivating a culture of gratitude in your workplace.

Keep reading to learn the business benefits of the attitude of gratitude!

Gratitude Inspires Innovation

Gratitude can be a great way to inspire innovation. When we recognize our team for their efforts, it gives them the fuel they need to keep going.

In this article by LinkedIn, successful keynote speaker Jose Pires says, “Great, enduring innovation leaders are unequivocally grateful. Their passion, discipline, and resilience are fueled by a deep sense of appreciation for people and/or circumstances in their lives in the past, present, or expected future.”

As leaders, we may find ourselves utilizing our problem-solving brain too often with averting crises and putting out fires, but if we regularly look for and express what we are grateful for, we can train our minds to seek out the positive regularly.

When you focus on the positive, it acts like wildfire in your organization. Positive reinforcement alleviates stress and encourages employees to keep up the great work.

Gratitude is incredibly empowering, especially when we express it openly and allow our team members to be recognized in front of their colleagues. Gratitude keeps your team feeling recognized and appreciated for their work and encourages them to inspire others around them, too.

Gratitude Promotes Job Satisfaction

In a rapidly shifting job market, figuring out how to retain talent and lower turnover rates can be a challenge.

According to Lea Waters (psychologist, researcher, speaker and author), her research shows “that gratitude accounts for close to 25% of job satisfaction and is linked to higher levels of hope and optimism, better work relationships, and greater commitment to the company’s mission and strategic direction.”

This is huge! Finding ways to simply say “thank you” can grow your business or organization in a big way.

When people are recognized for their performance, they feel seen and validated in the work they are doing and committed to staying the course.

Gratitude contributes to an overall sense of safety in an organization and when employees feel safe in their position, they are much more likely to focus on the tasks at hand rather than expending energy wondering if their job is secure.

In this article by The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley they say that “evidence suggests that gratitude and appreciation contribute to the kind of workplace environments where employees actually want to come to work and don’t feel like cogs in a machine.”

As leaders, we can help create a sense of safety and assurance by giving the gift of gratitude. When our teams are regularly receiving words and gestures of appreciation for all they do, they’ll likely show up with enthusiasm and loyalty for your company’s goals and mission.

Gratitude is Good for Business

As leaders in our field, we have many things we need to focus on to grow our business. And as it turns out, expressing gratitude contributes to our bottom line.

In Michele Bailey’s book, The Currency of Gratitude, she says her goal is to “show that putting effort into fostering a coherent and welcoming internal culture makes business growth that much easier (less work) and more sustainable (less of an investment) in the long run.”

Gratitude in the workplace gives people the motivation and momentum to keep moving toward their highest potential. When all members of your team are operating from a feeling of appreciation, they are more willing to contribute to your bottom line.

Research from the John Templeton Foundation showed that 93% of respondents believed leaders and bosses who practice gratitude are more likely to succeed. Surprisingly, 60% of respondents indicated they had either made one or no expressions of gratitude in the workplace that year.

It’s time for leaders to harness the power of appreciation and allow it to grow their business.

As leaders, we have a responsibility both to our team members and to the business. And as it turns out, creating a culture of appreciation is good for both.

Give Gratitude Beyond Thanksgiving

When you practice the attitude of gratitude in your business, you can uplift and empower everyone around you. It is often easiest to think of what we are grateful for around the holidays, but it is vital to our success as leaders, and the success of our teams to create a regular year-round practice.

Expressing gratitude for those around us can feel vulnerable, but as Brené Brown says in her Netflix documentary, “The Call to Courage”, "Leaders are called to choose courage over comfort all day long." And that is what we must do.

By regularly expressing gratitude, we help our team members to feel valued, respected, and perhaps most importantly, to feel that they belong. A sense of belonging to a community strengthens and deepens connections, which leads to greater overall performance and resiliency, especially in times of stress.

So if you weren’t already practicing the attitude of gratitude, now is the time! I encourage you to create a regular practice of identifying what you are grateful for and finding ways to express this to your team members.

Follow me on LinkedIn if you want more insight and inspiration on how to create a culture of gratitude in your business!


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