Is Gratitude a Habit in Your Workplace?

Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton are authors and workplace experts on organizational culture, engagement and leadership. They are better known as the “carrot guys” for their bestselling book, “The Carrot Principle” that serves as a roadmap to help recognize, motivate and give value to the most valuable assets in the workplace-our people.

Throughout their careers, they have surveyed over 850,000 people as source material for their books. Over time, they have identified 4 simple principles to get our workplaces on the path toward gratitude and happiness.

Do It Now
Gratitude does not get better like fine wine. To be effective, it has to be delivered in the here and now. They suggest the quicker you recognize a positive action the more reinforced that behavior will become in the future.

The authors claim that the best leaders spend at a minimum an hour a week dishing out recognition and appreciation to their employees. The results from these people investments surface in the workplace as high engagement, increased trust and enhanced energy levels.

Do it Often
Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving and never gets old. It has a multiplier effect and over time, can get embedded in the core values of your organization as a renewable resource. They suggest that the best workplaces praise people every day of the work week.

Be Specific
For the greatest effect, Gostick and Elton suggest that the recipient of the gratitude must understand how their behavior made the impact which justifies recognition and appreciation. They point out that specific feedback reinforces positivity which translates into effective work habits that get entrenched in your organization’s core values.

They warn against making generic gratitude statements which do more harm than good. If you cannot be specific with your gratitude, don’t communicate it at all.

Be Sincere
When I rub my dog, he does not know if I am being sincere or not. He is just happy to get some attention. In the same vein, Gostick and Elton recommend you reward only those actions you fully value and make it as public as you can. Their rule is appreciate in public and criticize in private.

Barbara Frederickson, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel, Hill, NC and author of the book “Positivity” wrote, “The first core truth about positive emotions is that they open our hearts and our minds making us more receptive and more creative.”

Like a blossoming flower, gratitude opens us up to possibilities and future potential. What is blooming in your workplace garden?

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