Empowering others through gratitude
Empower Others Through Gratitude
Every nod, every smile, every interaction can completely change the course of someone else’s day. We can either wield that influence in a positive, or in a negative way.
Empowering others is one of the most important acts one can do for other people. Empowering others means not criticizing them. Empowering others means not judging them. Empowering others means not being cynical toward them. Empowering others means praising the struggling student in the class on his or her progress—any progress, no matter how small.
Empowering others means adopting a growth mindset, believing talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and support from others. Empowering others is acknowledging and embracing imperfection in our self and in others, as our “imperfection” is the spice that makes us individuals. We all have our flaws, peculiarities, and weirdness… our imperfections, which make us unique.
Finally, empowering others means identifying with them, being happy for them, praising them on their accomplishments. People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Start using words and phrases that empower people. Instead of “I am sorry, or I am always late” try “Thank you for waiting for me”
In the end, empowering others also means… empowers us.
We tend to think expressing gratitude is appropriate at the Thanksgiving dinner table, but not necessarily in the workplace. This notion may explain why, according to one survey, Americans are less likely to express gratitude at work than anywhere else. Such an attitude, however, ignores several research-backed reasons why gratitude can make leaders more effective and improve workplace culture and productivity.
The survey finds that people appreciate the value of gratitude in the workplace, but are hesitant to express it on the job. A majority respond that giving thanks to a colleague makes them feel happier and more fulfilled. Yet 60% said they “either never express gratitude at work or do so perhaps once a year.”
Why do people hesitate to show gratitude at work? Perhaps they see it as a sign of weakness or vulnerability. However, gratitude is a sign of strength and leads to stronger organizations.
Gratitude increases productivity
Expressions of gratitude are not just feel-good gestures—they actively energize and motivate. In one workplace study, researchers looked at two groups of fundraisers at a university. One group received a personal pep talk from the director, who also thanked them for their efforts. The following week, the thanked group made 50% more fundraising calls than the control group.
Other research shows that gratitude reinforces qualities such as self-control, patience, and honesty. What all these qualities have in common is the ability to postpone short-term gain or gratification in the interest of long-term goals—leading one researcher to declare that “gratitude is the new willpower.”
By helping to instill both motivation and discipline, gratitude can play an essential role in creating a healthy organizational culture.
Grateful leaders are humble leaders
Gratitude is also an important individual quality for leaders to cultivate in themselves. One reason being thankful improves self-control and decision-making, says psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky, is that gratitude is intimately connected with humility.
In a research paper exploring the connection between the two, Lyubomirsky is careful to distinguish humility from simple modesty. True humility is a mindset that involves less focus on self and more on others, and an ability to see the strengths and value of others. Lyubomirsky and her research team found that gratitude fosters humility, and vice-versa. They have a “mutually reinforcing” relationship with one another, creating an “upward spiral” of personal and professional growth.
Both gratitude and humility are integral to emotional intelligence, an essential leadership quality in today’s world.
Grateful leaders have a growth mindset
Lyubomirsky also explores the link between gratitude and self-improvement. The humility that gratitude engenders also makes us more open to critical feedback, which in turn inspires us to want to be better. The best leaders see themselves as a continually evolving work-in-progress.
Moreover, gratitude generates a sense of connection, which also contributes to personal and professional growth. A feeling of connectedness, the study observes, can “reinforce an individual’s desire to be a good person and reach his full potential.”
When we realize we are part of something bigger than ourselves, we are inspired to raise our game, and also to raise the bar in our organizations. Gratitude is a gateway to connection, motivation, discipline, and growth. It has a miraculous power to make us feel more positive about the past and the present, and more hopeful and motivated about the future. In a world that demands constant change and evolution, gratitude is a gift that truly keeps on giving.
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