GRATITUDE MAKES YOUR EMPLOYEES WORK HARDER
Gratitude, as it turns out, is a many splendored thing. For the longest time, we have linked gratitude to spirituality, to religion… or to just being well behaved. Studies show that, among other things, gratitude is used as a moral barometer, effectively measuring the ‘size’ of the gift in emotional terms. Example: we know that public versus private statements of gratitude are ranked higher in the “gratitude scale”. But, as we are learning from recent scientific studies — a staggering 26 and counting — it turns out that gratitude is not only a moral or ethical behavior or emotion, it keeps in store a cornucopia of personal and business benefits. So, count your blessings.
- WORKPLACE MOTIVATOR. Staff engagement and employee achievement are greatly impacted by a show of gratefulness and a round of praise.. and if it is in public, event better. The 2013 John Templeton survey found that over 80% of employees work harder when thanked and commended for their work. This is true not only of up-down relations between managers and their teams, but of lateral interconnections between colleagues. The praise needs to be well timed, genuine, and specific. Another expected conclusion was that criticism only pushes employees to do anything to avoid criticism versus doing a better job.
- STRONGER SELF ESTEEM & RESILIENCE. In 2014, research published by the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology ascertained that gratitude increased self-esteem, and thus performance, in the athlete. It also helped cope with feelings of resentment, as grateful people learn to appreciate the accomplishment of others. Similarly, a 2003 study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that a major contributor to resilience following the September 11 terrorist attacks was gratitude.
- IMPROVED SLEEP. Grateful persons report less headaches and pains, as well as improved health because they take better care of it. In a comprehensive 3-study research titled ‘Counting Blessings v Burdens’, what emanated was that grateful participants reported increased wellbeing, better health, and a rise in optimism. Specific proof established increased exercising (to the tune of 40 minutes per week) and sleep (7.58 hours), with a more recent study suggesting this could be derived from a simple 15 minutes of jotting down what you were grateful for just before bedtime.
- BETTER MENTAL HEALTH. Gratitude also reduces a host of toxic emotions, such as jealousy, resentment, frustration, and regret. The multiple studies conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., concluded that gratitude effectively augments happiness and abases depression. Another study by Martin Seligman et al revealed that “a one-time act of thoughtful gratitude” immediately increased happiness by 10% and decreased depressive symptoms by 35%.
- MORE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS. A 2014 study published in peer-reviewed scientific journal Emotion established that showing appreciation can help you convert acquaintances into full blown friendships. It therefore follows that, much like corporate networking, these new opportunities can lead to covalent bonds not only in your personal life, but wherever you choose to establish social interactions.
- Leave a notebook and pen by your nightstand and take time to jot down what you’re grateful for before going to sleep
- Thank someone at work for something nice you’ve noticed they’ve done…however small. Be specific: mention what it is and how it made you feel.
- Start your next networker conversation by genuinely expressing gratitude for what the event is doing for you personally and in business. And then ask them how it benefits them.
The Science of Gratitude: More Benefits Than Expected; 26 Studies and Counting