This past weekend marked the celebration of Thanksgiving Day here in Canada, our last holiday long-weekend before the inevitable cold blast of winter arrives to blanket our country in snow and ice. While Thanksgiving in Canada differs from that in the United States in being a celebration of the end of the harvest period, what these two holidays share in common is that it’s a holiday for spending time with family, and expressing gratitude for the good fortune we’ve experienced this year.
After spending time with my family this weekend and catching up with everyone, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between those moments of sharing words of gratitude with my family with those moments where leaders express gratitude to those they lead.
After all, more than simply being a nice thing to do, expressing gratitude through our leadership has been shown to have a tangible impact on the overall productivity of our employees, if not also on the level of commitment they bring to the work they do.
For the past several years, Dr. Adam Grant and Dr. Francesca Gino have been studying how expressions of gratitude impact prosocial behaviour and fuel motivational drive, and one study in particular provides some interesting insights for leaders on the benefits of expressing gratitude to those under our care.
Dr. Grant and Dr. Gino conducted an experiment to look at how expressing gratitude would affect the motivation and commitment levels of fundraisers who were hired to raise funds for a university from within their alumni community.
For this experiment, the fundraisers were paid a fixed amount regardless of how many calls they made, and each of them was provided with daily feedback about their performance. The fundraisers were separated into two groups working different shifts, with one group getting a visit from a university director who personally thanked the fundraisers for their work, while the other group was simply left to do their assigned tasks.
What the researchers found was that the fundraisers who received those messages of gratitude from the university director made more phone calls to help raise money for the university as compared to those who hadn’t.
Upon reviewing the results of their experiment, Dr. Grant and Dr. Gino concluded that expressions of gratitude increase employee motivation and performance levels because it makes people feel ‘socially valued’.
Now to be clear, this doesn’t mean that all we have to do is say ‘thank you’ to our employees in order to increase their productivity. Rather, what this study’s findings demonstrate is that a genuine recognition of your employee’s efforts will ignite their internal drive and commitment [Share on Twitter].
In other words, this isn’t about providing some form of personal validation to make people feel good about themselves. Instead, this is about making an intentional effort to recognize the value or benefit your employees create for your team and organization.
Again, think of those moments where we express gratitude, whether it’s for Thanksgiving Day, on a birthday or anniversary, or any other event that has you reflecting on your life and the accomplishments or achievements you’ve attained. In those moments where we express gratitude, what we are doing is appreciating what we’ve attained and the positive difference it’s had on our lives.
Read full article: http://www.tanveernaseer.com/the-importance-of-gratitude-in-leadership/