Gratitude: A Leadership Standard of Excellence

May 07 2018 / by Mari Ryan

58015271_mI would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
G.K. Chesterton

Leadership skills today require more than the managerial accounting and marketing I was taught in business school. Today’s leaders need to be focused on their interactions with their employees. Specifically, in developing the skills of compassion, empathy, and gratitude which allow them to interact with employees in meaningful ways.

Gratitude can be defined as ‘using unconscious appreciation as a way of being; an actionable approach that results in positive engagement and innovation.’ We know the pathway to engaging employees is to make sure they feel valued and appreciated. An active practice of gratitude can make developing authentic relationships of value and appreciation come naturally.

Research in the area of positive psychology suggests that gratitude is foundational to happiness. In his book "Authentic Happiness", Martin Seligman, Ph.D. says, "Gratitude amplifies the savoring and appreciation of the good events gone by, and rewriting history by forgiveness loosens the power of the bad events to embitter (and actually can transform bad memories into good ones).”

Additional research has shown that developing a culture of gratitude can improve productivity, well-being, mental strength and job satisfaction. Gratitude also has a social contagion factor – it is contagious.

Research is also beginning to show the relationship between gratitude and our well-being. The work of Prof. Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at UC Davis and Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology, shows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude can impact the quality and quantity of our sleep, and improve our emotional and physical well-being.

Gratitude is a practice that can actually be cultivated. I take a few minutes each night before going to sleep to write down in a journal the things that I am grateful for that day. This is a simple practice with big impact, but it can even start smaller than that! Start today by showing one person that you are grateful for them or an action they did. You’ll feel good and so will they.

Topics: Worksite Wellness, Wellbeing, Community, Culture, Worksite Culture, worksite wellbeing, workplace wellbeing, workplace culture, gratitude at work, appreciation at work, happiness at work, behavioral science, wellness, employee loyalty, leadership skills, workplace loyalty, cultural competence, employee happiness, company leadership, ceo, cfo, employee wellness, worksite well-being, productivity, managers, middle management, employee engagement, connection at work, social connections, wellness strategy, Martin Seligman,, authentic happiness

Mari Ryan

Written by Mari Ryan

Mari Ryan is the CEO/founder of AdvancingWellness and is a recognized expert in the field of workplace well-being strategy.