Nobody said it was easy to make it in the business world. The most successful scions of Wall Street are usually depicted in the movies as greedy and Machiavellian. If you think those characteristics will help you lead your company to the next level, you’re wrong.
A recent podcast from Knowledge@Wharton features David DeSteno, a Northeastern University psychology professor. DeSteno’s research focuses on gratitude, compassion and pride as the necessary qualities in private and work life.
In today’s workplace, employees are often working as teams and rushing to meet a deadline. Is there a place for compassion and empathy in that environment? Absolutely. DeSteno reminds us that even Google’s famously competitive culture has a very humanistic side. When Google execs studied who was most successful in achieving their goals, they found the teams that showed the most compassion stood out.
Other academic research highlights the impact of gratitude. In one study, managers at a call center during fundraising for a development office thanked employees publicly for their hard work. This simple act of gratitude resulted in employees improving their efforts to raise more money during the campaign.
On the topic of pride, DeSteno emphasizes that this characteristic is linked to quality of work. When you take pride in doing the job correctly, people around you will be inspired to pay attention to details. As a manager, when you reward team members for doing a job well, you’re reinforcing the concept of pride – in the task, in each other and in the company.
Back in the day, pitting employees against each other to see who could finish a job quickly was considered acceptable. Today’s employees, especially millennials and the members of the rising Generation Z, want to be part of a cooperative workplace. In this type of culture, your employees will be less stressed and more focused on successful long term problem solving.