Gratitude Creates Better Managers

Saying thank you seems like the simplest, most basic form of courtesy. Yet so often we forget to thank others for the big and small gifts we receive.

This year, I am profoundly grateful for the gifts of life and health. Further, 2020’s challenges have especially driven up the value of the gifts of family, friends, and teammates. The wonderful people in my life have made all the difference.

(Give thanks. Photo by Simon Maage.)

The positive impacts of gratitude at work

If all of this isn’t enough, here is another reason to up your gratitude game: practicing gratitude makes you a better manager and creates a better workplace.

Courtney Ackerman has collected in one helpful place 28 benefits of gratitude and the most significant related research findings. Items 16-20 on her list concern the positive impacts of gratitude in the workplace:

  • Gratitude makes us better managers: “Gratitude research has shown that practicing gratitude enhances your managerial skills, enhancing your praise-giving and motivating abilities as a mentor and guide to the employees you manage (Stone & Stone, 1983).”
  • Gratitude makes us less impatient and improves our decision making: this applies to both financial and health-related decisions (DeSteno, Li, Dickens, & Lerner, 2014).
  • Gratitude helps us find meaning in our work: “Gratitude is one factor that can help people find meaning in their job, along with applying their strengths, positive emotions and flow, hope, and finding a ‘calling’ (Dik, Duffy, Allan, O’Donnell, Shim, & Steger, 2015).”
  • Gratitude contributes to reduced turnover: “Research has found that gratitude and respect in the workplace can help employees feel embedded in their organization, or welcomed and valued (Ng, 2016).” In addition, the Kelly Services Global Workforce Index (Kelly Services, 2011), found that “feeling unappreciated is the top reason why people leave their jobs, suggesting that workplace gratitude may aid in retention and in creating a stable work environment” (Dik, Duffy, Allan, O’Donnell, Shim, & Steger, 2015).
  • Gratitude improves work-related mental health and reduces stress: “Finding things to be grateful for at work, even in stressful jobs, can help protect staff from the negative side effects of their job.”

What comes next?

Taking this advice to heart, I’ll be sending friends and colleagues notes of gratitude this week. And, because this works best when gratitude is a regular practice rather than an occasional event, I’ll commit to conveying my thanks more often to the people who touch my life. In the process, research shows that I’ll rewire my brain for the better, become happier, and, most importantly, contribute some joy to others.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for support of this blog. I appreciate each and every reader. You make this effort worthwhile.

I wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

[Photo Credit: Simon Maage]

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