With the “giving” holidays behind us, many of us leave the practice of gratitude behind, as well. We reflected on our year, we showed gratitude, and now it’s back to business! As leaders, how you practice gratitude all year long, matters more than just during the holiday season. Common measures of employee engagement is at an all-time low, but companies may not need to get as creative as you think to keep employees from jumping ship. Practicing gratitude is a simple way to show employees that they are important and their work matters.
As leaders, how do we practice gratitude, show it to our teams, and encourage others to do the same?
Start a Gratitude Journal
Keeping a Gratitude Journal is a great way to keep track of daily gratitude practices. The PEAR team has come up with a few writing prompts to help you journal:
- I made the Earth better today. How?
- I did something small today that made a difference to someone else. What?
- I appreciate (name) because I learned this from them today. Who? What?
- I expressed gratitude to (name) today. Who? Why?
- I reflected, and identified, one thing that I was proud of this week. What?
- I gave more than I got today. How?
- I helped someone that cannot help me today. Who? How?
Recognizing your own accomplishments and reflecting on the positives each week help to refocus your thinking and highlight what was good each week. It’s also important for engagement to recognize team member’s accomplishments.
- Give shout-outs for a job well done
- Choose an employee of the month and highlight their work
- Celebrate a team win by bringing in pizza for lunch
- Recognize birthdays and anniversaries with a card, cake, or flowers
- A simple thank you at the end of a day can go a long way
Kindness culture has to start from the top. When employees work with an empathetic leadership team, they’re going to be more engaged and overall happier to be at work. Practicing gratitude is just a small piece to being an empathetic leader, but it’s a key leadership skill.
- Encourage teamwork – people want to know that their team has their back
- Listen – when someone comes to you with a challenge, practice active listening to understand
- See the positives – Even when there are challenges, there are always positives
- Give back together – Choose a cause that is important to your team and make a difference together
Stephanie Quinn-Schulman, SHRM-CP