Bring Gratitude to the Workplace

Yesterday was World Gratitude Day.

I know — every day is World Avocado or Spaghetti or Take-your-dog-to-work Day! They can be fun ways to acknowledge what we like.

But this year, Gratitude Day felt different.

There is a lot of research that connects our wellbeing to the expression of gratitude. You may have a regular practice of gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal. Each morning, I make a list of gratitudes and appreciations to start my day on the right foot. or making a list of gratitudes and appreciations about making gratitude lists or keeping a gratitude journal. What I find fascinating is how expressing gratitude helps our wellbeing in two ways: 

  • Gratitude for who you have in your life. From simply thinking about a person you’re grateful for, to expressing that gratitude to their face, gratitude for people is a boost.

  • Gratitude for how things happen. Think about an event or circumstance, the conditions leading up to it, what happened, and how you feel about it. Even if it was a negative event like a failed project, being grateful for the learnings gleaned from the experience helps us put it in context. Research shows making this a regular practice can significantly boost your well-being.

What’s different this year, though, is that I’m seeing gratitude practices coming into the workplace. With the Great Resignation taking place -- millions of workers globally are quitting their jobs -- executives and managers finally realize that employees want more than pay and flexibility. Employees demand meaningful work and emotional support as well.

A recently published study found that the most important culture element is that employees feel respected, are treated with consideration, courtesy, and dignity, and that their perspectives are taken seriously. This is where practicing gratitude for each other, showing appreciation for their energy and attention, can be the difference between keeping and losing your employees.

So take a page from your personal gratitude practices and do these wonderful exercises with your team. WHO are they grateful for? HOW did a recent win (or failure!) happen and what do we appreciate from the experience? It takes only a few second to express gratitude but the impact is long-lasting.

Write me back with something you’re grateful for. I would love to hear from you.

My Latest:

  • One time I arrived early for a speaking engagement, so I walked around asking employees if they could answer three questions. I was disheartened that none of them could! Yesterday in my livestream, I shared these three powerful questions. When all team members know these answers, you’re running a tight ship that is poised to take on disruption and come out shining.

  • Hugely successful companies — Adobe, Facebook, and Southwest — all made huge bets on the future. They could have failed miserably, but their gambles paid off. Big time. Find out how you can follow their lead and future-proof your company in Leading Disruption.

  • Join me for a series of talks on Fishbowl (a social audio and community app) about leading change over the next six weeks. The first session is today, Sept. 23rd at 5pm PST with the topic “Leadership is a Mindset, Not a Title”. Here’s the link to the session (you’ll need to download Fishbowl if you don’t have it already). Bring your ideas and questions!

  • If you’re not creating change then you’re a manager, not a leader. In next Tuesday’s livestream, I'm sharing the three misunderstood qualities of true disruptive leadership. These are the qualities that make leaders (no matter what your business card says). Join me live on LinkedIn on Tuesday at 9 am PT / 12 pm ET.

Good Things:

  • Good Reads: Dorie Clark has a new book called The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World. I first connected with Dorie in 2017 at a workshop and I’ve been following her closely ever since. After 18 months of Covid, it’s time to shift back into long-term thinking, and this book is perfect - it helps you apply the principles of strategic thinking to your life and career. Dorie wrote a piece for the Harvard Business Review magazine this month based on the book, and you can pick up a copy of The Long Game right here. Dorie also has a thought-provoking Long Game strategic thinking self-assessment that you can download for free.

  • Referrals: I’m so grateful for Short Wave. It’s a ten minute science podcast that comes out every day. It’s like a little dose of science class from high school (which I loved) and it has great storytelling. They cover topics from dark matter in the universe to mites that live on your face! Why am I grateful for this show? I love how it infuses my day with that little bit of wonder that science evokes. We could all use more wonder in our lives.

  • Resource: You’ve got to check out SpotHero for parking. The app finds which garage is giving the best deal, directs you there, and lets you pay for a spot from your phone at half to a third of the cost. Not only does it eliminate parking anxiety, I once paid $18 through the app for a spot that would’ve cost $56!