The benefits of adopting a culture of gratitude in the workplace

The benefits of adopting a culture of gratitude in the workplace

We live in a fast-paced world where maximizing productivity is crucial for businesses to get ahead of the competition. But in most business settings, the pursuit of profit comes at the expense of intangibles such as unity and loyalty. This is why it’s important to adopt a more holistic approach to conducting business in which different teams and staff perform their tasks with focus on collaboration rather than attaining individual success. After all, behind every successful business are people who make it all happen.

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One way to ensure that you and your staff never lose sight of what’s important in work and in life is by adopting a culture of gratitude.

Why is gratitude good for my team?

Expressing gratitude to your team can have a number of benefits. Most importantly:

1. It lowers stress

According to a study by psychologists at the University of California, Davis, a habit of thankfulness correlates with lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Having a sense of gratitude helps stave off negative emotions such as envy, resentment, and regret. It’s not about suppressing those negative feelings, but learning when to let them be felt and for how long. It’s key to fighting off emotions that can leave a person unmotivated and unproductive.

2. It builds resilient minds

Gratitude also builds mental toughness, characterized by the ability to stay resilient, manage fears, and overcome obstacles. A study by Kashdan et al. found that groups of Vietnam War veterans who adopted habits of gratitude after their deployment had lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder compared to those who didn’t adopt habits of gratitude. Having a resilient mind lets you stay focused even while under lots of stress.

How can my team practice gratitude?

Here are some ways to instill the habit of gratefulness in your employees.

1. Weave gratitude into your retrospectives

Project retrospectives or post-mortems are often viewed as serious, unenjoyable inevitabilities of company projects, particularly those that were not successful or were not deployed as cleanly as planned. They’re necessary to identify which processes worked and which ones didn’t in the course of the project, but are often very formal and void of moments of gratitude.

It’s a good idea to inject a little bit of gratitude into project retrospectives. It can fully change the mood during such meetings while getting everyone used to finding the silver lining in every challenging situation. It will also improve everyone’s outlook on these gatherings, helping make project post-mortems more productive.

2. Make it a daily habit

A culture of gratitude doesn’t happen overnight. A good way to make it a daily habit is by incorporating gratitude into regular meetings and your start-of-day team rituals. Before starting your team discussion, point out goals met and improvements logged since the previous meeting.

To do this, phrase your praises and affirmations in a grateful manner, such as, “Thank you to our IT team for meeting our security targets for the week” or “Shout out to Britney from Operations, who lent a hand with some administrative work last Monday.” Keep it simple and sincere. Before you know it, you and your team members will be doing it on a daily basis.

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3. View failures as opportunities for improvement

Failures are inevitable, but they are also useful in life. The thing about failures is that one should learn from them while they are small. This can help you and your workers avoid major mistakes in the future. So embrace failure, but don’t let it make you complacent. Be grateful for the opportunity to correct mistakes. Once you start seeing failures as jump-off points toward success, you’ll begin seeing opportunities for growth and improvement everywhere else.

4. “Thank you” > “I’m sorry”

Apologies can have such negative connotations, especially if you keep apologizing for minor lapses over and over again. Saying sorry is not a bad thing, but it does not really translate to concrete action and improvement. A good alternative when owning up to mistakes is by expressing gratitude. For example, instead of saying "I'm sorry I missed this detail," say "Thank you for catching that." Or, instead of saying "I'm sorry for my mistake," say "Thank you for helping me improve my skills."

Viewing the world through a lens of gratitude places acknowledgment on the efforts of the person you are apologizing to. It is also a more concrete way of saying that you are seeking to improve as a person and as a professional.

Gratitude can help fix many interpersonal issues and situations in your workplace. But for IT, it’s best to work with a proven technology solutions provider. Contact USWired today for all your computer, IT, and tech support needs.