The simple answer is “being thankful.” But the bigger question is why?
“Without gratitude, core teams fall away, culture diminishes and becomes stagnated and undesirable, innovation ceases, and followers ‘unfollow,’” according to the Thinking Bigger Business blog.
Conversely, the simple act of thanking people for their contributions leads to stronger teams, more open collaboration, higher morale and even higher sales.
In fact, a case study featured in Fortune magazine showed a direct correlation between one company’s implementation of appreciation lunches to thank customers and a 27% increase in revenue. In addition, when the company had to raise prices by 10%, not one of the “thanked” customers protested the increase.
The Benefits of Being Thankful
Here are some important ways that gratitude can help improve your business, your career and your life:
Thankfulness produces a solution mindset. According to Entrepreneur.com, it’s easy to get stuck in “complaining mode” when things don’t go your way, but that makes you less likely to move forward. Gratitude changes that perspective, and fosters the right attitude for seeing solutions, rather than obstacles.
Gratitude fuels great leadership. When you have an attitude of gratitude toward others, you begin to focus more on their strengths than on their weaknesses. This has a profound impact on improving a team’s performance. To be a truly great leader you must maintain morale, and thankfulness is an excellent tool to do so.
Gratitude increases willpower and financial “patience.” A Harvard University study revealed an interesting connection between thankfulness and the ability for people to delay gratification. Successful people understand the value of forgoing smaller pleasures now in order to reap larger gains later. The study showed that people with a grateful mindset were better equipped to exercise delayed gratification, and as a result, made more financial gains.
Putting It into Practice
If you’re not in the habit of expressing thankfulness, there’s good news: gratitude works like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets.
A great way to get started is to keep a written gratitude journal. According to Harvard Business Review, research shows that keeping this will help you focus more on the positives in your life and feel more connected to others. A written reminder also makes it easier to remember to share your thankfulness with those who have helped you.
One important caveat: be sincere. Despite the cliché about flattery getting you anywhere, experts say false praise will get you nowhere. Gratitude is about being real.
So when you gather with your team and co-workers this year and consider the blessings you are grateful for, think about those who make the important things possible, and resolve to thank them year round.