What does gratitude mean to you, what does it mean to you in life, and what does it mean to you in business? And, what does it mean to you in all the things that come in between those? 

For me personally, gratitude is pretty simple. It is the act of acknowledging the impact of the world around you. As human beings, we exist as part of a social structure. Our sanity is partially created and maintained by those social structures. Social institutions. The impact that they have on us is enormous. It is not enough to say that a person’s sanity is just, as the likes of Freud and Jung would suggest, when the components that make up a person’s personality, the sub-personalities, are aligned, regulated and healthy as an individual entity.

Gratitude is part of your sanity

Your sanity is something that is measured against the social institutions in which you exist, the people around you, and the environment in which you exist. Your sanity is created by weaving a complex web of your personality, and the subpersonalities that make up that personality, with the Social institutions that you exist in. It is maintained and regulated by the people around you. 

When people around you tell no, or are negative towards you, when people around you cannot stand to be around you, that would imply that you are not living up to the so-called norms upon you and reenforced by those social institutions. To be healthy, to be considered to have a healthy measure of sanity, you have to conform to at least some of those social constraints.

IDGAF – But you do, no matter what you say

You will Look around you and you will see people that will say, “I don’t care about what people say. I’m me. I’m so unapologetically me. Look at me. I’m wonderful.” However, those people, whether they realise it or not, conform to a great many rules and regulations that are set out by those social institutions. 

Gratitude, for me, is recognising those social institutions, and those people that help you to implement the rules and regulations that come along with them, and the value of the impact that all of that has. It’s a really simple thing and It’s usually done through reciprocation. More often than not, it’s not actually verbal, “Thank you, I’m so grateful,” it is much simpler and more basic than that. It is living Up to those constraints and aspirations that are shared with you so generously by the people you. 

Gratitude goes deeper than just being thankful

It is Respecting those people around you enough to temper yourself, to control yourself in their presence. That is gratitude. That is gratitude is an individual. 

On a business level, gratitude takes a very similar position. You are expected to conform to certain rules put upon you by the people in the space that you exist with, you’re customers, suppliers, staff members and so on. You show those people gratitude for the contributions they make to your business, and therefore your life, by living up to those ideologies that are thrust upon you and living up to the agreements that you have set out. 

There is great value to be found in gratitude. 

Gratitude is a very simple but powerful thing. 

Gratitude is something that shows people that you recognise their contribution. That recognition of their contribution then, in turn, leads to an increase in their contributions, an increase in the ferocity and positive intent of those contributions. 

Gratitude is immensely valuable and there are a vast number of benefits. In the business arena, when you have a team, you show that team that you’re grateful for the input that they have in your business, you’re grateful for the work that they do, you’re grateful for the attitude that they have, you’re grateful that they deem your team one they want to be part of. When you show those people gratitude, true gratitude, gratitude that reflects the value of what they input into your business, then they feel validated. They feel like they are recognised, they are important and understood, and they are valued. 

The reach of your gratitude is deeper and longer than you think

That gratitude goes a long way. If you did a survey of all the companies in the world to identify which is the happiest and most productive team on planet earth, then you would find that they exist in a culture of gratitude. 

The individual team members are grateful for the opportunity. They’re grateful for their position in life that their work affords them, they’re grateful for the work itself, they’re grateful for their team members and so on. They have those feelings, they feel validated, they feel important, and they’re grateful for it because the people around them, especially those above them within that hierarchy, show them each and every day how grateful they are for their input. They go above and beyond to serve those people. 

As the leader, you serve your people

You might think that as the employer that your staff exists to serve you and your business but that’s not the case. Your staff does not exist to serve you. They, individually, have their role and the product of that role serves the cause and direction of the company but you as the leader exist to serve them. This ensures that they are able to put into your business the level of input and energy that your business truly deserves. That begins and ends with gratitude. 

No gratitude makes for a toxic culture

I have myself, in my time as an employee, worked in places where there’s no gratitude. There was no thanks, no kiss my arse, no nothing. This was a truly toxic culture to exist. That is not the place that you want to be. It certainly is not a place that you wake up in the morning raring to go to work. When you get to work, it’s not a place where you feel it is even worth putting in the effort. Because as far as you’re concerned, as the employee in that scenario, you don’t exist. Your effort hasn’t even been noticed. Your bosses couldn’t give a shit about you, you are just a number. And, not even a prominent, valued, or important number at that. That is not a desirable place to be. 

A culture of gratitude makes for a wonderful place to work

I’ve also worked places where the people, the management, put a great deal of effort into showing their gratitude to the staff. They will do things, small things, every day. Things like, for example, talking to the staff on a personal level. Never talking down to the staff. Engaging with the staff and showing interest in their life. Other things like praising the work that you do as an employee. Praising the efforts you put into creating a positive culture. A positive place to be, a nice workplace. They praise and encourage you. 

They also do Things like push you. No, I don’t mean yell at you, set unrealistic targets, and tell you what to do. I mean they encourage you to be better. They do so through facilitating learning, furthering your personal development, also help you to set and achieve goals that are beneficial to you and to the business, but mostly to you. 

The good is also the few but they do exist

Those workplaces are, sadly, few and far between. But, you as a business owner have a unique opportunity. You have an opportunity to create have a positive workplace, a place where culture exists that is based on positive reinforcement, encouragement, and gratitude. That’s not actually hard.

While we are on the topic of targets, when you will the employer and your team reach those targets, you need to celebrate that. Not just a quick well done, thanks for lining my pockets. Truly celebrate them, appreciate the value that they provide to your business. Show them in a way that goes beyond just, “yeah well done,” because as much as we all like to be told well done, we also see that as the employee we pull into work in a crappy beat-up old car and the boss pulls up in the brand new Mercedes. Seeing that can creates the element of “is this even worth it”?

Gratitude closes the perceived gap between you and your employees

But when the Gratitude comes in the form of an actual reward for reaching those goals, bear in mind that those goals that are set by you as an employer to benefit you in your business and help the business grow, need some sort of actual reward for the effort that goes far beyond just a well done. So it could be arranging some sort of experience for them, it has to be something they want and are willing to engage in. Or, it could be a nice cash bonus which is always appreciated, especially when your staff are people that are on the lower rungs of your business (because they get paid the least). The financial rewards don’t have to be massive, it’s just a token of your appreciation. A signpost that signifies your gratitude

The gesture that you make when you engage in the practice of gratitude goes far beyond a quick boost to morale. It shows your staff that you genuinely appreciate them, you genuinely appreciate the work that they do, and most of all that they are not replaceable. Nobody likes to feel like they are replaceable. Nobody.

Make gratitude a habit

As a leader, you should make gratitude a habit. Spend a few minutes each and every day making sure your team knows how much you appreciate them. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The more validated your team feels the more effective they will be. When I say your team I mean the whole team, not just the management. It’s the people on the shop floor that make you money, now the middle management, remember that.

Getting in the habit of anything, let alone something like gratitude, can be a bit weird. It doesn’t just happen, you have to force it. Luckily for you, this is something I recently wrote a post about. A post you can check out here https://mybizacademy.co.uk/creating-good-habits-to-replace-the-bad 

If you would like some help to formulate a gratitude plan, then get in touch. If you need someone to hold you accountable then you need to get on board with some coaching. Regular 1:1 sessions with me will ensure that you get on and stay on the right track. If you want to have a chat then head over to my company website and send me a message https://mikethebizguy.co.uk/Contact 

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