Leading with Gratitude
When was the last time that you said thank you?
Of the keynote speeches that I deliver, the one that has the greatest impact is when I talk about gratitude. Sadly, when I ask volunteer leaders, if they have been thanked in the last month, normally only 20% of the audience respond positively. Yet people who work in teams, need to feel that they are valued. They need to feel that their work means something.
Strangely, some leaders seem to think that showing gratitude is a sign of weakness, and they are relinquishing their power to the other person. The only time they thank their team members is when they have succeeded “above and beyond” what it expected of them. Yet this seems illogical, because surely people are more likely to go above and beyond when their hard work is acknowledged on a regular basis!
A recent Glassdoor survey found that 80% of employees said they’d be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss.
These statistics suggest that leaders who show gratitude are likely to reap the benefits of a more engaged and productive workforce, and a study conducted at a fundraising centre, found calls were boosted by 50% after a director thanked employees for their work.
Too often in the workplace, team members are not thanked, because they are “doing what they are paid to do”. Yet I have discovered with my staff, that if I thank them every day for the work they have achieved, then they are happier, more contented and utilise their work time more effectively. Some of my staff do routine jobs, meaning the chance to do something outstanding is greatly diminished. Does this mean they are unworthy of a simple thank you? I believe the opposite is true and that these workers need acknowledgement more than anyone else. Thank your team for the small things, not just the big accomplishments.
Because these people make your life easier by doing the work that they do. Even if the same work could be done equally well by somebody else, this doesn’t matter. Because “somebody else” doesn’t work for you right now
Everyone needs to know that they are appreciated and that their contribution matters, and the easiest way to show it is to say thank you. When you show team members that you notice their contribution, it can make a huge difference to team morale.
Many workplaces have a negative environment. Things go wrong, people are upset, and nothing seems to run smoothly. After a time, it can seem like negativity is out of control and people are venting frustration with reckless abandon. Ever worked in a place like that?
Yet as the leader you can change this by switching to a positive mindset. Showing gratitude does that. Do it enough, and you will find that positive thoughts come to you more often and may even become your default way of looking at life.
So what’s stopping you from saying thank you?
A simple thank you can be enough for many tasks. It costs nothing and sends a valuable message – that you notice them. Some might say it’s simply common courtesy, but in workplaces, sometimes courtesy isn’t that common. People need to feel that you notice and you appreciate them.
Saying thank you makes team members feel safe. When members are hearing regular positive feedback, they know they are on the right track. When they don’t hear anything, they don’t know where they stand. This can cause them to lose motivation because they don’t know if they are doing the right things.
Most team members want to do a good job. They want to end of the day feeling valued and that they contributed. Giving meaningful and regular recognition is an easy way to do that. It’s something simple, but it can have a big impact.
I challenge you to find a way to express gratitude to those around you, and it’s as simple as saying thank you.
Written by David Templeman, DTM, PID