The Power of Gratitude

Lifelete Fundamental

December 2, 2015

The holiday season is a time of giving thanks to our families and friends and showing how much we appreciate them. While expressing gratitude at home, don’t forget to thank your work colleagues. The results might surprise you. Studies show that gratitude is a powerful motivational tool at the workplace and can lead to positive outcomes.

A recent New York Magazine article references Janice Kaplan, author of The Gratitude Diaries, who conducted a survey of 2,000 Americans on the topic of gratitude with findings that include:

  • 81% of respondents would work harder for an appreciative boss
  • 70% would feel better about themselves and their work if they were thanked more regularly
  • 10% regularly showed gratitude to their work colleagues

It seems that people are less likely to express gratitude at the workplace than anywhere else, even though research shows that gratitude can be a powerful motivator. The London School of Economics published a review of over 50 workplace studies on motivation and found that people work harder when they are intrinsically motivated. In other words, they are motivated when the work itself interests them and if they feel appreciated by their colleagues. This sense of appreciation can actually outweigh the extrinsic motivation of financial incentives.

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, people have a basic need to feel important and have their top three needs of belonging, esteem, and self-actualization met.  Effective leaders know the power of appreciating their employees and that acknowledging the value of their work can fulfill these basic needs and increase overall motivation and performance.  For more information on Maslow’s Theory, read Lifelete Fundamental – Basic Needs: How A New Career Can Fill the Void .

Gratitude can be a powerful work motivator, but it can also help build stronger relationships with your colleagues resulting in better work outcomes. It can have a positive effect on your job performance, networking opportunities, future references, and overall interactions with work colleagues. Showing gratitude can be as easy taking the time to say thank you to your colleague for their help on a project, acknowledging their assistance during a staff meeting, or sending an email or personal note to their boss to show your appreciation.

Expressing your gratitude to others at work, during the holidays and throughout the year, can be a powerful motivator and tool for success for yourself and your colleagues – it’s as easy as a simple ‘thank you’.