Gratitude is one of those attitudes that everybody likes, but few understand. It’s often seen as a sentimental “warm fuzzy,” but in fact gratitude is a powerful and necessary mindset that every team must have, in order to get to the next level.
Unfortunately, gratitude comes in short supply in too many businesses.
Slowing down and expressing thankfulness puts a person in a better frame of mind. And it has ripple effects that transform business relationships within teams, across departments, and between organizations. Let’s look at the power of gratitude for your organization.
Gratitude Helps You Get to the Next Level of Business
When you can engage others with a deep, appreciative mindset, fear of conflict melts away. We become fear-driven when we think, “It’s uncomfortable for me.” But if we approach difficult situations from a place of gratitude, we realize that it’s more painful in the long run not to enter the conflict. Gratitude cares about the greater good — it’s not about me. So we can enter into short term pain in order to bring greater long term health, because we’re focused on others without a primary regard for ourselves.
This simple shift in mindset has real power to change entire workplaces. Self-preservation runs from difficult issues, throwing out red herrings as distractions. But gratitude takes our eyes off of ourselves, so that we can enter into the riskier conversations to create a healthier, more effective team.
When you practice thankfulness as an ongoing discipline — whether it’s journaling, sending thank-you notes, verbally expressing gratitude to others, or something else — it gets you out of a reactive state of mind. It also helps you find blessings within the obstacles themselves.
There’s also the creative freedom that thankfulness generates. If you aren’t being self-protective, you can take greater risks. You’re willing to consider more possibilities and explore unconventional ideas. With no egos to get in the way, everyone’s idea can receive equal consideration, and the best solution is more likely to rise to the top.
When you have grateful people leading teams, you’ll see several benefits that impact your business:
- It helps people shift from a reactive to a proactive, solution mindset. Rather than be easily offended by teammates’ comments, people are focused on making things right. When you don’t have a reputation or an ego to protect, your energies are easily directed towards finding solutions.
- It helps them to lean into obstacles, instead of running away. When a storm is coming, bulls and cows react very differently. A cow sees the storm and runs away. The storm eventually catches up to it and the cow is stuck in the storm for a longer time. When a bull sees the storm, it runs into it head-on. The bull faces the force of the storm, but it gets to the other side faster and it enjoys clear weather sooner and for a longer time.
- It shifts teams from a state of complaining to brainstorming. People spend their energies exploring possibilities rather than being discouraged by the problem.
Needless to say, teams that operate out of gratefulness are healthier, more productive, and higher performing. Gratitude isn’t just a sentimental feeling, but a better way to run your business.
Cultivating Gratitude on Teams
How can you cultivate gratitude within your team? It’s not as easy as flipping a switch, and you certainly can’t just tell people to be grateful. But there are effective ways to create a culture of gratitude among your people. Here are a few ideas to get started.
- In your Level 10 Meetings™ or in your Quarterly Sessions, don’t merely share good news. Instead, answer the question: What are you most grateful for, personally and professionally?
- Give an extra thank-you to the Right Person in the Right Seat — the one who is often overlooked and taken for granted.
- Send a handwritten thank-you to an employee or a team member. Don’t write it as an email. It’ll go a long way, because it’ll stand out. A handwritten note requires more thought, and it’s much more impactful in today’s digital age.
Recently I’ve been leaning into a deeper level of thankfulness. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve others in meaningful ways, and to help clients through transformative experiences. What would happen if your leadership team leaned in from a deeper gratitude-first perspective? How can you operate out of a gratitude mindset at your organization?
Check the strength of your organization in just a few minutes — take the Organizational Checkup.