4 Simple Projects that Transform Culture Today
You’re under appreciated and overworked.
Bitterness follows ingratitude, the most self-destructive quality of all.
10 reasons you’re ungrateful:
#1. Expectation ends gratitude. Results are expected. When you deliver them, someone gives you another goal. There’s no appreciation for doing things you were supposed to do.
#2. Pressure ends gratitude. There’s no time for appreciation when everyone’s barely keeping their head above water.
#3. Problems end gratitude. We can’t stop to say thanks when the world’s coming to an end.
#4. Greed ends gratitude. You aren’t thankful because you want more. Who can appreciate having less than they want?
#5. Inequity ends gratitude. You work harder than others. Why should you thank them for doing less than you?
#6. Complaining ends gratitude. It’s hard to see the good while talking about the bad.
#7. False humility ends gratitude. You belittle compliments. “I didn’t do that much.”
#8. Entitlement ends gratitude. People who work are more thankful than those who don’t.
#9. Negative history ends gratitude. Bad experiences with a person cause you to reject their thankfulness and make you ungrateful for them.
#10. Not receiving gratitude ends gratitude. “If they aren’t thankful, I won’t be thankful.”
#1. Ask teammates, “What could I do to show I appreciate you, your results, efforts, and dedication. Do those things.
#2. Call gratitude meetings. Invite the leadership team to a “thank-you card meeting.” The sole purpose of the meeting is to write thank-you notes to teammates and colleagues.
#3. Drive-by gratitude. Stop into an office, say thank-you for something, then walk out.
#4. Appreciate character, not just results.
- You’re enthusiasm is encouraging.
- I can count on you. Thanks for being reliable.
- I respect your dedication, even if results fell short.
Don’t call a big meeting to complain about lack of gratitude. Just go show gratitude in small ways.
Would it be terrible if everyone said you’re the most thankful leader they know?
What prevents leaders from showing gratitude?
How might you show more gratitude today?
Feeling of inequity is the root cause that create unhealthy culture.It germinates many symptoms- false humility, complaint, blame game etc. I always believe in creating self example to others. It can be done in many ways- through behavior, concern, personality and role model. These prevents leaders from showing gratitude. Even it they show it, it looks fake. People may not question of the face, but they hold grudge. Leaders do not need to claim but they need to show by their actions.
My way of showing gratitude is simple- interacting, listening, understanding and appreciating. When you understand others, it becomes easy to appreciate his or her competencies. This is the simple way any one can show gratitude. In the organisations, I have witnessed that when employees work hard, they are appreciated but sooner they talk about their entitlement, their superiors make different attitude. They say, it is your personal matter. It is so disgusting that when you work for the organisation, it is not personal, when ask for your privileges, it becomes personal. It is really sad.
Thanks Dr. Gupta. Learning to deal with the feeling that things aren’t fair is a great challenge. The truth is, things aren’t fair.
Leaders should strive for equity. But the challenge of equity is everyone doesn’t get treated the same because everyone’s performance isn’t the same.
Yep. We see this all the time. What if we had a day of celebrating our successes but managers were too busy to come. Personally, I think that happens every day in most companies. There is simply so much people could choose to do differently.
Nothing really prevents leaders from showing gratitude, but we have a National Employee Appreciation Day every year, don’t we? And don’t we do Employee of the Month in some organizations?
Geeze, what more do workers want?
(yes, I am being a little sarcastic here!)
Thanks Dr. Scott. “We have a national Employee Appreciation Day, don’t we?” … Golden!! 🙂
Yes! A strong culture attracts and engages the talent you need to deliver value and gratitude is a key element in those attractive forces.
Thanks Steve. Your point on how great culture is an important factor, if not the main factor in attracting and retaining talent can’t be overstated.
#2 Calling a gratitude meeting is a great idea. I have used this technique in the past. Nothing says thank you like an impromptu pizza delivery
Thanks Brian. Why not? 🙂
“Thank you’s” come with manners and etiquette, how we were raised! To many times people seem to leave out the little things that make a difference that contributes to poor morale! Don’t be afraid to give credit when it is due! The workers need to hear the kudo’s and accolades that are given from customers and managers! Post an encouraging email or note from a client letting them know they were appreciated. We all made choices along the way to “work for others” or “work for ourselves”! The rules apply either way when you work for others we work by their rules and when we work for ourselves we work by our rules, to an extend, superseded by laws, codes etc.
Thanks for the idea of passing along the good word we hear from clients. Nothing like a good story to lift the spirits. I worked at an organization for several years and only recall ONE TIME in a meeting that a good client story was shared.
Yes Dan, I actually post them and forward to management as well so everyone wins!
Real gratitude is great. False gratitude is not. Sometimes gratitude isn’t deserved for a job not done well, yet people expect it. Point 1 is right, expectations end gratitude. Occasionally leaders avoid showing individual gratitude for fear of discriminating among their team.
Thanks White. We can show gratitude for effort and hard work even if results disappoint. However, as you indicate, gratitude for something that doesn’t deserve gratitude, cheapens the process.
Just think how much good is UNdone for fear of that we might not do everything perfectly.
The significant challenge I always see when searching for that “perfect” way of expressing appreciation or gratitude, is that no two people ever “feels” and “wants” the same level of appreciation. What I mean is that some want public acknowledgement, some want a simple thank you, others need nothing and all other options in between.
I am always hesitant to throw the group parties to express appreciation or gratitude as there are some that always look at the differing (and perceived?) levels of contributions as a measure of fairness.
That said, I always try and treat each contributor as individuals and express my appreciation or gratitude based on “my” perceptions on a 1:1 basis. Is it subjective and fair? Yes and no without question…
Thanks Mr. T. I’m glad you shared your insights today. My motivation for #1 – “Ask teammates, “What could I do to show I appreciate you, your results, efforts, and dedication,” reflects my agreement with individuality.
When it comes to group activities…there are always different levels of effectiveness. If you think a group party will do harm, don’t do it. Other wise, my thought is, go for it once in a while.
I love the four projects you suggest in this post! I will be sharing with my team here.
Thanks Abby. Best wishes.
Marvelous, Dan. Thanks. It makes me think that Gratitude is the behavior that builds, maintains, and directs the culture we want (the what and how we get things done). Such a simple but powerful concept that so many don’t comprehend (the Takers in a negative sum game (http://wp.me/p2k440-2v), and the Makers in a zero sum game (http://wp.me/p2k440-2i)). While it’s not a physical law (but more of a non-physical or spiritual one), it is still very true: The More You Give Away, The More You Receive In Return.
Thanks Jim. You got me thinking about the importance of giving to others the things we feel we need from others. (Not to manipulate them, but because they probably need it too.)
Really like this: “3. Problems end gratitude. We can’t stop to say thanks when the world’s coming to an end.” And we all know of leaders (no, these people are managers at best…) who are so egocentric that they believe the world will come to an end without their efforts!!!
I have to disagree with Project #1. I don’t think asking and doing would be anywhere nearly as impactful as the leader observing and doing!!! Others are good though.
Thanks jcbjr. I always enjoy your candor. 🙂
Here’s a thing. A leader tries to deal with these things and keep his people on side, protect them and show gratitude.
However, expectations, pressure and problems seem to be touchstones of current management culture. You’re employed to produce, with an expectation of constant, increasing success. “Correct” staffing levels are predicated on you having just barely enough to cope if you’re stretched: if you can comfortably manage, you’re deemed to be over-resourced. The response to problems is deemed to be the “true measure” of how good people are, so problems are introduced to ensure to are properly tested…
Gratitude as aleader can only get you so far when the rest of the structure actively uses expectations, pressure and problems not as things to solve, but as tools to use (or at worse, to weaponise).
Thanks Mitch. There is concern, some legitimate, about showing gratitude at work.
If we show gratitude people will think they’ve arrived and ease up, for example. But, if we show gratitude for behaviors that move us forward, we should anticipate that gratitude keeps us moving forward.
My reply may not see overly connected to your comment. It’s what you got me thinking about. 🙂
You’re right, there is a feeling that if you’re “nice” to people, they’ll “slack” and that would never do! This misses the idea that common decency, including gratitude, isn’t an add-on, but a necessity. Being grateful for the right things, the things you describe (among others) is a sign of strength, no,t as some “managers” seem to think, a weakness.
Beautiful post, Dan. And what is particularly beautiful is that all your readership seem to know—without question–why the character quality of GRATITUDE is significant and essential to transforming the culture of their and any organization—even though you cited everything that ended gratitude and no reason how gratitude contributed positively to organizational change. I think reason enough is just “it feels good” to both receiver and giver.
But does it have any real impact in terms of physical energy and perhaps blessing?
I just so happened to be reading Psalm 103 after one of my girlfriends told me she was struggling to find hope and was not experiencing a lot of happiness in her profession. King David said we can be grateful or “bless” the Lord. Acknowledging God’s role in our lives can redirect our thinking from the hurts of our hearts–and dwell instead on the goodness of God.
David knew trouble. He faced many adversities, the consequences of his own decisions, and the challenges in his life. Yet he also recognized the healing power of gratitude. That’s why he lists reasons to be grateful to God, who gives us many “actual” benefits: God forgives us, heals us, redeems us, crowns us with love and compassion, satisfies our desires, and renews us. We are actually transformed by these benedictions. David also reminds us that God provides justice…and is gracious and loving. We actually feel these qualities. Praise and gratitude can lighten our heaviest burden. Praising God puts hope and trust in our hearts. When we feel good, we do good. Gratitude makes us “feel felt.”
Years ago. I worked at a job where managers issued “Bravo Cards” to employees on the spot to recognize their hard work and initiative. You could cash them in for things like movie tickets. But the best part about the Bravo Card was the personal note written by the supervisor on the back of the card. All these years later, I still have my heartfelt Bravo Cards, which meant more to me than the movies I forgot about. Sometimes, it’s just the little things that matter when you’re already working so hard.