Although the question bounces around many tables at Thanksgiving dinner, ‘What am I grateful for?’ also has a special resonance today, World Gratitude Day.
World Gratitude Day was officially started in 1977 as a way to celebrate the things that bring humankind joy: life, experiences, friends and family, everyday heroes, or even that smile from a passing stranger.
From the biggest events to the smallest of gestures, World Gratitude Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves about what matters in life. While it may be more natural to practice gratitude with our friends, family members and other loved ones, we can also use this day to jump-start our gratitude practices with an overlooked category: coworkers.
According to a survey of 2,000 Americans1, people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else. This seems like a pretty dismal way to spend one third of our lives.
To make things a lot less dismal, we’ve come up with 3 simple ways to foster gratitude in the workplace:
1) A little ‘thank you’ goes a long way
Chances are, you are not a island. Staff members, the administration team, interns, and all those who make the organization tick behind the scenes are part of your picture of success as well. When we acknowledge people and a job well done with a ‘thanks’, we make their contributions visible. This can lead to a strengthened morale within the company and a better understanding of the organization as a whole.
2) Create space for all kinds of gratitude
Whether you’re a team member, management, CEO, supervisor, or in the office part-time, creating diverse opportunity for expressing gratitude will have benefits far beyond yourself.
Some people might prefer being acknowledged in a meeting in front of their peers for a job well done, while others may squirm at such a public call out. Some may appreciate an email or a sticky note as a sign of gratitude, while an in-person ‘thanks’ has a greater impact on others. You get the picture; we’re all different. Discussing with your employees or coworkers their preference is a simple act with hugely positive potential.
3) Speak (and act) from the heart
If you’re just going through the motions when thanking, appreciating, or acknowledging something positive, your insincerity can diminish that person’s perception of success. Being sincere in your actions and words will create an atmosphere of trust and productivity in the workplace that is hard to come by with canned responses. So use detail when expressing gratitude, actually listen to your employee/coworker, and see that loyalty and trust will follow.
Happy World Gratitude Day, everyone!