"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."
Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
Those Greeks were pretty smart, and Cicero’s statement is just one example.
According to an article in Psychology Today, gratitude is a sentiment we'd all do well to cultivate. “Feeling thankful and expressing that thanks makes you happier and heartier--not hokier.”
But more than that, when gratitude is expressed to others, many benefits occur. A simple “thank you” goes a long way in improving the morale and ultimate performance of others. Of course, it has to be genuine. Counterfeit praise is easily seen through and can do more harm than good.
According to Tom Rath, co-author of How Full Is Your Bucket, “Gallup polling has revealed that 99 out of 100 people say they want a more positive environment at work, and 9 out of 10 say they're more productive when they're around positive people.”
He points to research that shows when a work team has more than three positive interactions with managers for every one negative interaction, it is significantly more likely to be productive. The point is not to keep managers from correcting or reprimanding, but just to express more praise.
To improve your gratitude attitude, consider the following actions:
1. In your personal life, you can list the kindnesses of someone you’ve never fully thanked. According to Lauren Aaronson in Psychology Today, if you read this letter aloud to the person you're thanking, you'll see measurable improvements in your mood. She refers to studies show that for a month after a "gratitude visit" (in which a person makes an appointment to read the letter to the recipient), happiness levels tend to go up. In fact, according to her references, the gratitude visit is more effective than any other exercise in positive psychology.
2. In your practice life, list the positive contributions of each team member. Once each day, take just a moment to recognize your team member’s action and express it to them. Your communication does not have to be lavish, just a short 3 second notice of something good followed by a “thanks for the report, Dr. Smith” is all it takes.