Dr. Karen Jacobson

By Dr. Karen Jacobson

Want Team Engagement? Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

Want Team Engagement? Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude 150 150 Dr Karen Jacobson

Thanksgiving is a celebration of gratitude. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in honor of the harvest, giving thanks for the fruits of our labor and to Mother Earth. These days, many people take the opportunity to express their gratitude in different areas of their lives. The expression of gratitude during the holidays gives this time a year a festive feeling. But should gratitude only be celebrated during the holiday season?

Gratitude is defined as “A feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive”. While gratitude is an inner feeling, thankfulness is the response and the outer expression of that feeling.

How does gratitude affect us?

I remember as a child growing up overseas, the surprised looks I got from some of my friends for thanking the bus driver when he took my money for the bus ticket, apparently, they were not used to hearing someone saying a thank you to a driver. All I knew at the time was that the driver was happy and so was I. Gratitude’s reach carries far beyond the simple act of saying “Thank You”. It can have physical emotional and social effects.

How many of you were raised to be polite and say thank you when someone makes a nice gesture towards you?  Saying thank you is a common social practice that acknowledges acts of kindness, at times it might even put an unexpected smile on one’s face. How can gratitude magnify your leadership and enhance your business?

If you are looking to build a High-Performance team that is dedicated to the company, use gratitude and appreciation in your business and watch your team members respond. Expressing gratitude make the recipient feel valued, appreciated and validated as a result, the brain releases Oxytocin, a happy Hormone. People tend to repeat the same behavior to continue to get acknowledged and the cycle of feeling good. Gratitude therefore ultimately motivates human performance.

Are you ready to implement?

Here are some simple ways to express gratitude in your company:

Deskside Acknowledgement

Engage the management in showing appreciation to the team members on a regular basis through MBWA- Management by Walking Around. Depending on the size of the company and the team have your leadership-managers/supervisors/team leads walk around and make connections yet, without hovering or micromanaging. You can do this on a daily or weekly basis. Instead of looking for issues or problems have them notice even the little things that seem simple to them. When someone is showing they are making efforts, don’t wait to let them know their efforts are appreciated. Be timely, be specific and reinforce the good work so they know what they’ve done right. Immediate acknowledgment will go a long way and will increase your value as an attentive leader.

Hold an offsite Team Appreciation Day

While many companies have Appreciation Day, some are tied to their leadership or company development days. Think of something unexpected that you can offer that shows you value the team and their work.  Here are a few unique ideas that I have seen companies. One company had taken their entire team to Disneyland, all expenses paid. (of course, it all depends on the size of the company.  Another company offered a SPA Day to everyone. A third company sent the team members and their spouses to dinner and a concert. Aside from an annual event, you can host monthly lunches in between.

Such activities will increase morale and enhance team motivation.

Creating an Ongoing Gratitude program:

1. Survey the team members and find out what they need. While some people are comfortable being acknowledged in public, others might prefer staying out of the spotlight. Make sure you know how to individualized the appreciation

2. Develop different methods of showing appreciation using the following modalities: Verbal acknowledgments such as praise in person or at a meeting. Written acknowledgments such as an email, handwritten note or certificate. Gifts such as store gift cards or actual gifts. In addition things like a designated parking spot for a star employee, coffee/breakfast with the boss, etc.

3. Be sure to also take into account that different generations have different values and appreciate different rewards. From flex time and cash bonuses to professional development and PTO. Match what you offer to their needs, not yours.

Giving thanks for even the little things in life will magnify the good feelings, make your team members feel more alive and connected. Furthermore, living in gratitude can improve the quality of their lives and yours, it supports the immune system as well as improves the quality of our sleep.  Constant gratitude will reduce the incidence of depression and elevate our mood naturally. It will lower blood pressure and reduces aches and pain.

Let’s see, you acknowledge your team, express your gratitude, they, as a result, they are more engaged, they are happier, healthier they perform better. Now your company is more productive which in turn would make you happy and all the more grateful!

Any downside??

I say Let’s Adopt the Attitude of Gratitude, Today!

Dr. Karen Jacobson, a High-Performance Strategist and Speaker; is a former Israeli military commander and competitive ballroom dancer. She is the creator of the High-Performance Triad and author of Power Conversations.  Thru the use of Neuroscience and Emotional Intelligence Dr. Jacobson with leaders on how to develop High-Performance teams in a Multigenerational workforce. For information on speaking and consulting check www.drkarenjacobson.com

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