Want your people to feel better about themselves and their work? Then take them through some gratitude exercises.
I see you cringing. Now before you become cynical – no, your workplace will not devolve into a cult of incessant hugging and crying – consider this: recent research in the field of positive psychology shows that when people express gratitude they feel happier, interact more positively and stay healthier than those who don’t.
So suspend your preconceptions, summon up your courage, and try at least one of the following:
1) Start your next meeting by having each person write a list of all the things about work for which they are grateful.
2) At the end of a meeting, take 10 minutes to have people ‘mingle and move on’, expressing one thing they appreciate about each person they connect with.
3) Ask each of your people to meet with / write to another employee for no other reason than to express thanks for something they hadn’t been thanked for.
4) Invite a supplier into your office. Have each employee who interacts with that supplier (or their products) express a specific gratitude.
5) Invite a customer into your office. Have each employee who interacts with that customer express a specific gratitude.
There, doesn’t seem so bad after all, does it?