As the winter holiday season approaches, we often take a minute to reflect on what we’re grateful for and what we’d like to improve on in the coming year. Business leaders should also be taking stock of which activities are creating the right culture at work. On soul2work.com, Scott Mabry suggests five ways leaders can highlight gratitude to improve the office environment.
Gratitude, like humility, is short in supply these days. These characteristics can’t be included on a list meant to measure progress during the year. Instead, these characteristics, which set a tone, must be consciously introduced and regularly practiced in the workplace. Leaders who emphasize gratitude and humility can establish a culture where team members from diverse backgrounds, with varying skill sets and a range of personalities feel welcome and motivated to do their best.
Mabry says one way leaders can encourage gratitude is to set aside time at the end of meetings, especially if they are interdepartmental, for informal discussion. Ask people to state what they are grateful for. People who work with each other on a daily basis often forget to say thank you, or take a moment to officially appreciate what someone else has done for them. When you encourage this kind of interaction, whether it’s in a meeting, or spotlighting a job well done by a team or an individual on the in-house social site, you show employees that you care.
You can take another step forward in the gratitude realm by asking team members, in a group setting, to all spotlight a specific individual. In some ways, this practice mimics what takes place at a retirement or departure party. When you think about it, doesn’t it seem odd that we wait to recognize employees’ contributions until they’ve got one foot out the door? Why not call attention to each individual on your team at least once a year and ask everyone to celebrate their accomplishments publicly?
Keep in mind that these interactions are not meant to substitute for feedback given during a one-on-one meeting. They also shouldn’t turn into a formal recognition program where awards or prizes are given. As Mabry advises, when you remove the spontaneity from these interactions, some of the emotion is lost too.
Your team members will feel a stronger bond with their co-workers after a few of these kinds of interactions. When you see them initiating a moment of gratitude on their own, you'll know your culture is headed in the right direction.