Gratitude and Work
Yesterday I mentioned that gratitude can affect our health and well being. There are other benefits. Gratitude can make a powerful difference in our work and building community.
That’s why the “Greater Good Science Center” at the University of California, Berkeley—in collaboration with the University of California, Davis—launched a $5.6 million, three-year project, “Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude.” The project is supported with funding from the John Templeton Foundation. The general goals of this initiative are to:
• Expand the scientific database of gratitude, particularly in the key areas of human health, personal and relational well-being, and developmental science;
• Promote evidence-based practices of gratitude in medical, educational, and organizational settings and in schools, workplaces, homes and communities, and in so doing…
• Engage the public in a larger cultural conversation about the role of gratitude in civil society.
To achieve these goals, they have developed a range of research and education initiatives, from a research grant competition to a series of articles on gratitude to a large public event.
This is not some religious organization that is promoting this endeavor, it’s the University of California , Berkley. There are spiritual benefits that overflow into our secular world all the time. This can especially be beneficial at our places of work when we allow them too. We may say “thank you” to acknowledge the good things we get from other people, especially when they give out of the goodness of their hearts. We say “thanks” at home and in school, in stores and at church.
But why don’t we do this more at work? According to a survey of 2,000 Americans, people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else. And they’re not thankful for their current jobs, ranking them dead last in a list of things they’re grateful for.
It’s not that people don’t crave gratitude at work, both giving and receiving. Ninety-three percent agreed that grateful bosses are more likely to succeed, and only 18 percent thought that gratitude made bosses “weak.” Most reported that hearing “thank you” at work made them feel good and motivated.
Yet, almost all respondents reported that saying “thank you” to colleagues “makes me feel happier and more fulfilled”—but on a given day, only 10 percent acted on that impulse. A stunning 60 percent said they “either never express gratitude at work or do so perhaps once a year.” In short, Americans actively suppress gratitude on the job, even to the point of robbing themselves of happiness. Stunning – incomprehensible.
Gratitude can not only make the workplace bearable – it can transform the workplace. Make the effort of catching people doing things right. Appreciate your co-workers. Realize that one of the places you spend the most time is also a place where you can positively affect the environment. Can one person make a difference. Absolutely.
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35