3 Gratitude Exercises for Leaders To Embrace

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The holiday season is a time to reflect, a time to stop and think about all that we have to be grateful for. For many individuals, thankfulness is directed towards friends, family, and all the delicious food!  Not many, however, are sitting down at the table and sharing how grateful they are for their employees or colleagues.

A study by OfficeTeam revealed that more than half of workers would likely leave their position if they didn't feel appreciated by their manager, and this number increased for those 35 and younger. This seems surprising in many ways, as so much of our time and energy are invested in our job —so why is it that we have such a hard time expressing gratitude in our day to day interactions? Often we move so fast that we don't stop to acknowledge one another and share our appreciation with others.

Here are some ways you can encourage your team to show a little more appreciation this holiday season:
Gratitude On The Spot: In an upcoming meeting, set aside some time for the group to focus on gratitude. Have each person on your team or in a project group stand up for two minutes while colleagues say out loud what they appreciate about the person standing. Have a timekeeper that makes sure you stay on track, so everyone else can focus on the task at hand.

Why? Acknowledging the importance of appreciating team members publicly is vital. By taking the time to do this, you are signaling to the larger group or organization that you value appreciating others.

Gratitude Notes:  Supply notecards for team members to write notes to one another expressing appreciation. The goal is to make each note very specific and share why it is significant to the team and/or organization. Encourage employees to focus on how colleagues make their lives easier and/or more enjoyable. Make this a monthly activity throughout the year.

Why? Physical notes seem to be a lost art. This exercise allows people to reflect and give something physical that can be kept by others.

Gratitude 365: Expressing appreciation shouldn’t only happen in the months of November and December. Make it a daily practice within the organization by making it a part of every meeting—be it 1:1s, smaller work gatherings, or larger office meetings.  Start each of these by first expressing your appreciation—it could be as simple as a thank you for showing up, or a shout out to an employee going above and beyond.

Why? Making something a habit can be hard, but the payoff will be well worth it. Before you know it, this practice will become second nature, and replicated throughout the organization.
How will you share out loud your gratitude this holiday season? And don't forget about those who you spend 40 hours a week with!

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