There’s a practical reason why gratitude in the work environment improves performance. Gratitude encourages employees to invest more of their discretionary time and energy into executing your strategy.
I’m sure you can remember a time when you worked hard on something and your efforts went unnoticed. It probably felt like you’d wasted your time. The experience also made you less likely to repeat the activity.
When the work you do is appreciated it is more likely to be repeated.
Gratitude within the work environment encourages greater productivity by providing positive feedback to employees about key behaviours you’d like to see repeated.
The problem is that we are often so busy producing and doing that we forget to say thank you when we should. We pay attention to the squeaky wheels and fail to acknowledge great performance.
In personal terms, having a gratitude practice helps us create a positive mindset, which is critical to sustained personal performance.
Gratitude helps us to maintain work–life balance. While we are striving for achievement, gratitude ensures that we are paying attention to the relationships and things we already have.
If we aren’t grateful for our health, we’re likely to make poor choices about our body. If we aren’t grateful for our relationships, we may lose them.
The key is to develop habits and routines to identify and acknowledge the people and things we are grateful for.
Here are four ways to develop a gratitude practice:
The best way to develop new productive habits is to use your current habits and things that consistently happen to you as triggers.
What’s something you do each day that could act as a great trigger for a gratitude practice?
For instance, one of my clients uses his train trip home to reflect on his day. He writes a note in his phone of the things that happened to him that day he is grateful for. He will also take this opportunity to email someone to say thank you, or congratulate team members on their achievements.
Introduce reflection time to your weekly planning habit.
- What went well this week?
- What didn’t go well this week?
- What will I do differently next week?
- Who should I thank or acknowledge this week?
Ask yourself these questions:
Block out time each week to communicate thanks to your team, peers, and leaders.
Take time once per week to send a communication to staff to call out the achievements of the week. Not only is this a gratitude practice, but it encourages what is known as the science of small wins.
Small wins lead to more small wins, which add up to big wins. Build time into your week to encourage both.
Gratitude journaling takes this habit to the next level. If you make a practice of writing down three things you’re grateful for as a must-do habit every day, you are more likely to benefit from your gratitude practice when you need it most.
That’s because it is when we most need to create a mindset shift from negative to positive that we forget to remind ourselves what we’re grateful for.
When this is a daily habit we have an opportunity each day to create a mindset shift.
What’s going to work for you?
Operationalise this habit and see your and your team’s productivity, happiness and engagement improve.