Credit to Adam Kay author of Gratitude and Leadership: Why Enlightened Leaders Know to be Grateful
Do your employees give you performance evaluations? (Stay with me, I’m getting to gratitude!) One of my annual practices was to ask my team to give me feedback.
“I never know how I stand with you, Dr. Smith. I don’t know if you are pleased or displeased with my performance,” was the feedback I received once. I was shocked because I thought that I made extra effort to praise regularly and sincerely, and to give criticism regularly and privately. During our follow up conversation I learned that she required more affirmations than I had been giving. I expressed my gratitude to her for giving me that gift of feedback. And, yes I focused on more positive feedback for everyone.
Gratitude is the currency of human relationship. Gratitude and effective leadership go hand in hand. To achieve anything great, leaders depend on their employees. Great leaders know that trust and loyalty can not be bought with money, but can only be earned with gratitude.
Gratitude Benefits Leaders
Research shows that feelings of gratitude are incompatible with negative emotions. One result is that gratitude diminishes destructive feelings such as anger, hatred, bitterness or greed. The leader’s emotional health benefits their life and work.
Dr. Robert A. Emmons, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis – and the world’s leading expert on gratitude – found that those who practice gratitude sleep better, exercise more regularly cope with stress more effectively and are sick less frequently.
Gratitude Benefits Employees
In his book 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, Bob Nelson states “a sincere word of thanks from the right person at the right time can be more meaningful than a raise, formal reward or whole wall of certificates and plaques.” The result is motivated, engaged and satisfied employees.
Gratitude Benefits the Entire Organization
Gratitude generates efficiencies for the entire organization and – it doesn’t cost a thing. People are more likely to work smarter, faster and longer which results in stimulating growth. People are less likely to be disengaged, participate in destructive in-fighting or require days off to emotional distress or physical illness.
Extraordinary leaders understand that their fundamental purpose is to leverage the power of their people as much and as effectively as possible. Will you focus on gratitude during the Thanksgiving season and carry that focus on through 2014?