Gratitude: It's about human connection

Gratitude is a buzz word at the moment. I see and hear it in the workplaces I visit… gratitude walls, support-staff acknowledgements, meetings that open with acknowledgements.

These are lovely ways of bringing awareness to others.


My question is “Are these actions actually creating a culture of deep connection?”

I ask this because what I also see and hear are people being excluded from acknowledgements, people being acknowledged when they aren’t even in the room, and gratitude timetabled into meeting agendas turning it into a per-functionary task.

Whilst I acknowledge that we need to begin somewhere, I wonder if these approaches are creating a superficial culture within our organisations.

Gratitude is about human connection: heart to heart; wairua to wairua.

As leaders we are the people who can be culture-cultivators. We can begin by modelling deep connection and gratitude.

Gratitude can be shown in different ways.

We can show gratitude of character:

I want to acknowledge the courage you showed when you took on that new task. You stepped into it with such a positive attitude and also kept persevering when it got tough. You also asked for help when you needed it, and that showed vulnerability. Through your actions, I have also learnt a lot about myself. Thank you.

We can also show gratitude of personality:

One of the things I admire about you is that you are  always optimistic. I sometimes get discouraged but when I  talk with you, I always go away with a more positive  perspective. I appreciate that. Thank you.

And we can also appreciate people for their actions:

Thank you so much for helping me with that report. I was going round in circles with it, and having a second pair of eyes over it gave me clarity. Thank you.

And personally, we also need to stop and show gratitude to ourselves.

Wow I stepped-up then and challenged the status quo. Go me!

My call to you this week is to take the time to make a deep connection with people through gratitude. Remember too that a culture-shift won’t occur unless we model it ourselves.

Gratitude begins with you.

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