In his recently posted compilation of results of more than 40 research studies on gratitude, “The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life,” http://happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude/,” Amit Amin includes some valuable organizational findings.
This holiday season seems a fitting time to remind us all of the Career, Social, Emotional, Personality and Health benefits found through research.
Focusing on our careers:
Gratitude helps you network. Gratitude has been shown to increase social behavior across a number of studies including two longitudinal studies that showed people with higher levels of gratitude developed more social capital than those with lower levels.
Gratitude increases your goal achievement. At the least, gratitude will not make you lazy and passive. It might even do the opposite!
Gratitude improves your decision making. Decision making is really tiring – so tiring that we automate to our subconscious much of the reasoning that goes behind making a decision. Even for the most basic of decisions, like where to go eat, there are dozens of variables to consider: how much time and money to spend, what cuisine to choose, whether or how far to travel, what to order and so on. If you deliberated on each of these decisions one at a time, your mind would be overwhelmed and tired, and the problem gets even worse for more complex decisions. At least one study shows that gratitude motivates and might energize improved decision making.
Gratitude increases productivity. People who are highly confident are able to be more productive, because they can direct more of their focus toward their work. Gratitude has been shown to increase self-esteem and reduce insecurity: it can help us focus and improve our productivity.
Last, and perhaps best, gratitude makes you a more effective manager. Effective management requires a toolbox of skills. Criticism comes all too easily to many, while the ability to feel gratitude and express praise is often lacking. Multiple studies have found expressions of gratitude to be highly motivating. If praise is moderate and focused on behaviors, repeat expressions of gratitude (contrary to expectation) will not lose their impact, and employee performance will increase.
A 2001 Gallup survey revealed that 65% of Americans didn’t receive recognition in the workplace in the prior year. Knowing that, consider the potential positive impact on your team’s performance through your learning and practicing expressions of workplace praise.
Separately, looking at the broad impact of gratitude on organizations, a 2015 study published in the International Business Research journal showed that collective gratitude (many individuals in the work place practicing gratitude) can reduce employees’ turnover intention, foster employees’ organizational commitment, lead to positive organizational outcomes and help eliminate toxic workplace emotions and negative attitudes.
Imagine what a conscious practice of intentional gratitude could do!