Practicing values in the workplace is key to a healthy culture, but we tend to focus on those relating to communication, planning or practices. I like to also reflect on how our personal values translate into the workplace.
Gratitude means being thankful by showing appreciation. When we practice gratitude, we channel our thanks into action. This means reacting to the good things that happen in our lives, but it also means carrying that energy forward into new experiences.
How use this energy in the workplace? We can practice Grateful Leadership! There is probably already a book with that name already (yep, just checked, there is …) but this is not a summary. I just want to jot down a loose idea for an approach that I think we should try to use more often.
To me, practicing “grateful leadership” means,
- … finding a reason to appreciate the people you work with, every single day. Step 1 for building a grateful culture? Be thankful. This means taking the time to reflet on the moments that made your work better.
- … sharing your feelings with your team. Feelings are infectious, and leading by example is how we spread them. Share your joy freely. Share it openly, in public at meetings, and privately in 1:1s. People might need some getting used to this, because it’s not always natural in the workplace.
- … building a culture of recognition. Encouraging people to speak up: when you see something awesome, say something awesome. This is one area where it helps to nudge people to join in, and can be accomplished by something as simply as “… did you let them know that?”
- … being thankful when people give you the gift of their time. That means using their time respectfully/responsibly, not wasting it or treating it flippantly. Make it interesting, make it fun, be mindful.
- … being generous with your own time. Show your appreciation to others by giving them the gift of your time. Schedule those one on ones. Follow up with people that have had an impact on your work. If someone asks for a meeting, don’t wait for them to book it – open your calendar and show them you care by booking it yourself.
- … looking at difficult situations as challenges, not problems. With an attitude of gratitude, we spin hard problems into learning adventures.
- … letting people in to what’s going on in your head. Be generous with sharing your what’s on your mind. Describe your mental models, impart your knowledge, offer your feelings. When you let people in, you give them
- the gift of being able to help.
Why gratitude? I find it energizing and motivating. It helps me bring my best self to work every day. And that’s something I encourage in others, because a grateful culture makes for a great place to work.
The important thing about gratitude is that it is more than simply being or feeling thankful. We need to act. We need to express our gratitude – share it, show it, live it. And bringing that into the workplace is incredibly powerful.
Van Gogh used Sunflowers to represent gratitude: vibrant, strong and sturdy. https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-van-gogh-fell-love-sunflowers