Pop the Cork on Positive Environments
Leaders who don’t express gratitude are small-hearted Grinches. It doesn’t matter what you think of yourself. You’re building negative environments.
Unexpressed gratitude is ungratefulness.
The only way to sustain gratitude is to express it. Withheld gratitude shrivels and dies.
Leaders are make-it-better types. You’re looking to fix someone or something. You aren’t looking to be grateful. You migrate toward the negative. No wonder so many leaders frown all the time.
What would you do if you weren’t always fixing and solving?
Walk into your next meeting chomping at the bit to express gratitude. Your perspective, attitude, and approach shifts from negative to positive.
Energy to fix problems comes from building on success.
When working on technical issues, focus on problems, solutions, and progress. When working with people, build on success.
Gratitude builds positive environments.
- Begin one-on-ones by expressing gratitude. Avoid the feedback sandwich. Let gratitude stand on it’s own.
- During one-on-ones, ask, “What’s happening in our organization that makes you thankful?” Send an email before the meeting to warn them about your gratitude question. You wouldn’t want to give anyone a heart attack.
- Begin team meetings by asking:
- What are you thankful for?
- Who are you thankful for? Why?
- What praiseworthy behaviors are you seeing?
- Go on a gratitude walk-about every morning and afternoon. Put it on your calendar.
- Look someone in the eye.
- Name a praiseworthy behavior.
- Say the magic words, “Thank you.”
- Don’t say anything else. Just smile and walk away.
- Try these phrases, if “Thank you” feels worn out.
- I’m proud to work with you.
- You make us better when you…
- You made a difference when you…
Expressing gratitude expands your heart.
Habitual gratitude might be too big of a challenge for some leaders. In that case, just stop talking.
How might leaders move toward habitual expressions of gratitude?
Great point! Another great question to ask is, “If everything that I’ve never expressed thankfulness for was taken away, what would I have left?” Very timely reminder!
Thanks Kristi. Love that question. It also shows our priorities.
“Gratitude” needs to come from the heart, mean what you say with feelings! Often times the words are not expressed as a “feel” “felt” statement, one needs to be affirming in what they say and mean when they convey their “gratitude”! All good stuff as usual, Dan!.
Thanks Tim. I like the word sincere. I don’t always feel it. But, it can be sincere, even if I don’t feel it.
I lean toward the approach that feelings tend to follow behaviors. As always, thank you for your insights.
Dan, in my past work as a psychotherapist worked with many couples heading towards divorce. At some point, one or both began to take each other for granted and when that happens it’s the beginning of the end. Relationships take intentional work, whether it at home or at work and gratitude is a great place to start. People do their best work (and rarely leave) when they feel who they are and what they do is wanted and deeply appreciated.
Thanks Allan. It’s great that you bring such personal and human experience to this post. It’s funny that I hadn’t thought of the word appreciation. It has a different feel than gratitude. They seem to go together, but appreciation has a more personal feel to me. Much appreciated.
Great article! I’d say this applies to personal relationships too.
Thanks Michele. Thanks for saying that.
Calendaring time for rounding is important, so that it actually happens. The other key is to be specific in why you are thanking the individual. A bonus is when you tell them that another individual, who you name, told you about something good that employee did. The specificity helps convey sincerity. “Thanks, you’re doing a great job” doesn’t carry the same weight.
Thanks Ann. Awesome insights. Expanding the gratitude circle makes so much sense.
An important form of praise is speaking well of others to others. That feels like a positive environment.
To be habitual, I have a list of all my employees. I put a mark by their name after I have given them positive recognition. This way I am fair and consistent in praise and appreciation. Writing what I am grateful for down on a note is also appreciated. Staff members (I am a school principal) keep these little notes for years.
Thanks Matt. A great system sets us free to succeed.
It’s so easy to neglect the power of gratitude, especially with people we are around everyday.
Hi Dan, rightly said for positive environment this is required.
So “Gatitude is the attitude ”
But must not be stand by for cunning people. It’s must enhance flora and fauna of organisational environment. Flora and fauna are none else but Employees of organisation kindly create a 1. Weekly basis praiseworthy environment where positives of week can be shared and who participated must rewarded with a kind of token amount or certificates or a letter of appreciation from department head. Let him feel honoured. And a value for organisation. Gratitude is truly true etiquettes of people driven leadership not a egocentric or reactive leadership.
Create a environment where people can participate on a cause of appreciation and contribution.
Acknowledge, Appriciate, Accountable
Gratitude is a word but it’s a complete attitude.
Many leaders underestimate the impact that unexpressed gratitude can have on their team. The paycheck does not replace expressing gratitude for a job well-done, or for continued high performance.