Gratitude is good for you. Researchers who have studied the matter have found that those who focus on what they are thankful for tend to be more optimistic, happier, and healthier. Sounds great, right? Wait, there’s more good news. Gratitude isn’t just good for your personal life. It can also enhance your professional life and here’s how:
Gratitude is a team player
Researchers Adam Grant and Francesca Gino wanted to know how a simple “thank you” impacted work teams. Through a series of four experiments, they found that individuals were willing to take on extra tasks when they felt appreciated. In one of the experiments, as an example, the researchers looked at whether a thank you from one person would encourage participants to help others. They found that an expression of gratitude nearly doubled the likelihood that participants would indeed be willing to help again.
As a manager, motivating your team is certainly high on the list of your daily responsibilities. Showing your staff that you appreciate their efforts can go a long way in helping you do so. In fact, according to a Glassdoor Employee Appreciation Survey, more than 80% of employees say they are motivated to work harder when they feel their efforts are appreciated by management. That’s higher than those who are motivated by demanding bosses (38%) and those that fear losing their jobs (37%).
Gratitude creates the right atmosphere
Corporate culture matters. People want to work for (and with) companies that they can feel good about. If you want to boost employee satisfaction, as well as improve absenteeism rates and reduce burnout, try saying “thank you” more often. According to UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons, “Grateful individuals live in a way that leads to the kind of workplace environment that human beings long for.”
Gratitude looks good on us
If you want to walk in a room and just exude success, start by being grateful. According to a survey by the John Templeton Foundation, individuals considered grateful people as more likely to be successful. We’re not talking about a mere lean towards a positive impression. The survey found that 94% of women and 96% of men expressed this perceived correlation.
Gratitude is a goal-getter
Being grateful for what we have and what we’ve accomplished can help propel us forward toward our goals. Studies indicate that gratitude can bolster our resilience, productivity and focus. When we feel like we’ve hit a wall, taking a moment to appreciate how far we’ve come can help us refocus and move forward.
Gratitude’s in it for the long haul
In a world where we want to consume our news in 140 characters or less, and anything that takes more than a split second to load on our screens is “slow,” patience can be a rare commodity. Yet, success – both personal and organizational – takes time. One team of researchers discovered that feeling grateful also improved patience. The study presented three groups of participants with the choice of instantly receiving $54 or waiting 30 days to receive $80. Of the three sets of people, the group that was primed to feel grateful was more apt to wait for the larger payout while the ‘neutral’ and ‘happy’ groups were more likely to take the immediate win.
Ready to see the impact for yourself? Grab an empty notebook and set aside time to write down the things you’re grateful for at the start or end of each day. When you’re feeling overwhelm set in, reach for your journal and review the pages for an instant pick-me-up. If you’re looking to make an impact on your work teams, you’ll find some tips in a previous article about how to express gratitude at work: Cultivating a Positive Workplace. Give it a try and then stop by LinkedIn to let me know how well it worked for you.