In addition to the obvious benefits that expressing gratitude brings not only to the recipient but also to the sender, there are more subtle benefits that can contribute to business success as well. Here are just a few.
Gratitude as a retention tool. Perhaps the greatest challenge facing businesses today, especially small businesses, is attracting and keeping a committed workforce.
Millions of dollars and countless hours have been spent conducting interviews with people to see what motivates them and keeps them engaged at work. Near the top of every one of these lists is that people want to feel appreciated.
This doesn’t mean we need to pass out gold stars for showing up to work or pin medals on people for doing a great job. These lose their meaning if we don’t first take care of the basics like saying thank you, paying attention to people, letting them know they matter, or just simply being available to listen.
Gratitude as an ego antidote. Over the years, I’ve filled quite a few pages writing about the negative impact an over-active ego has on a business. It’s destructive and avoidable. Just like our individual attitudes, our egos are something only we can control. Showing gratitude to others is a great way for us to do that in our personal and business lives.
The Arbinger Institute is a global training and consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations achieve breakthrough results by shifting from a self-focus to an others-inclusive focus. In their work they cite Neel Burton, MD who writes, “By turning us outward, gratitude shifts our focus from what we lack or strive for to what we already have, opening our eyes to the bounty that is life, something to marvel at, revel in, and celebrate rather than forget, ignore, or take for granted as it flies us by.”
Gratitude as a sleep aid. The connection between getting a good night’s sleep and maintaining good health is inarguable. Sleep deprivation can weaken our immune system, increase blood pressure, affect our ability to concentrate or think clearly, and the granddaddy of them all—we’re often grumpier.
Neuroscientist and psychologist, Dr. Tamsin Astor, suggests that developing a habit of gratefulness at the end of each day can be a powerful sleep aid. And this doesn’t need to be complicated. A few quiet moments to reflect on the blessings in your life will help to quiet the mind … and the soul.
So, the evidence is in and it’s undeniable. The simple act of showing gratitude to others for the contributions they’ve made to your organization or to your life is a fundamental step in becoming the kind of person others want to be around.
We can complicate the subject of leadership development by reading all the latest books or watching endless videos on the subject. Or we can simplify it with two simple words: thank you.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m long overdue for intentionally letting some people know how much I appreciate them and the impact they’ve had on my life.