Finding Gratitude in the Workplace

Having grown up in Northeast Ohio, I am a lifelong Cleveland sports fan. So, you can imagine my response when I was recently invited to attend Games 7 of the World Series: “Are you kidding me?? No really. Is this a joke? Heck yeah I’m in!!!” Then the result: two consecutive losses by my beloved Tribe, surrendering a 3-1 world series lead and losing to the Cubs (PS – Congrats Cub fans! We know a thing or two about title droughts in Cleveland).

As badly as those two losses hurt, I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be present. In fact, I was grateful for the chance to witness one of the greatest baseball games played this century! In a situation like that, it’s easy to be grateful. But how does gratitude translate into the workplace? That’s a little trickier sometimes.

It’s certainly easy to show gratitude in certain situations; A goal that is met, an objective accomplished, a promotion. But most of the time it’s difficult to seem grateful while we are buried in our work with priorities and deadlines that seem crushing, particularly given the daily fires that we have to fight just to keep everything moving in the right direction. We are all tired, stressed, and generally overworked. But I would argue that gratitude is an essential component of a healthy business culture. It’s such an easy thing to express, yet has a tremendous impact when applied correctly. So how is this something we can focus on daily???
I would offer the following…

1) Find it where you can and give it often. Opportunities to be grateful surround us every day, sometimes we just need to pay attention. Did someone help you meet a deadline? Maybe they covered for you during a key meeting. Maybe they allowed you to skip that meeting so you could address something more urgent. Perhaps they simply let you go ahead of them in line at lunch. Whatever the case may be, express your appreciation for the gesture.

2) Simple gestures are powerful. Often, we think expressions of gratitude should be grand gestures involving a 16 count Brownie Package. Well, yeah, that’s awesome and we should all send one another brownies more! But gratitude also lives in simple gestures such as a quick email or handwritten sticky note, a favorite coffee drink, or even just an intentional, meaningful “Thank you.” And there is nothing quite as powerful as affirming someone and expressing gratitude around others! The recipient will remember THAT for a very long time.

3) Receive it well. Giving gratitude is a great first step, but also be prepared to receive it warmly. This is an area I really had to learn and apply. Just like you may often be intentional and heartfelt in your expression of gratitude, remember that the person giving it to you has done the same. Don’t blow it off or try to cower in embarrassment. Receive it warmly – it will only continue to replicate.

So, as we contemplate these things and consider the current season of Thanksgiving, I would like to express a little gratitude to many of the great people we work with every day.

To our client companies, thank you for taking a chance on us. For allowing us to service you and partner with you. I can’t express how humbled I am that we get to work with you on such great initiatives every day and be a resource for your talent needs. Thank you for believing in the value we can provide.

To our consultants and candidates, thank you for placing your trust in us during your continued professional journey. We are fortunate to encounter and work with so many great people, and humbled by the chance to help you find meaningful work that you benefit from and enjoy. And of course, thanks for your patience with us. We realize things don’t always happen as quickly as we would all prefer.

Finally, to our internal sales, recruiting, service, and operations staff – Thank you for placing your trust in our company and the vision we have for our organization. Thank you for your work ethic, passion, candor, and guidance on everything we do and where we are going as a company. Your energy, enthusiasm, and ideas are a building block to our future.

Thanks to all for the chance to be in relationship with you! Now, about those brownies…